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of society ; and it has so many affecting associations, is so connected with the most touching incidents in our Saviour's life, that it can hardly fail of setting him before our minds with peculiar efficiency. We might appeal to matter of fact; and we are confident it would appear, on inquiry, that those of our churches which have regularly observed it as a memorial of our Lord, have actually found it attended with the best of influences on the communicants, and, through them, on others.
" Another consideration, before we pass. In joining a church and partaking of the Lord' Supper, there naturally arises a sense of increased responsibility assumed in so sacred a profession; and this sense itself, if properly cherished, will be fruitful in good results. We may, indeed, argue, abstractly, that men are always under the same responsibilities, whatever their relation.
be true ; but certainly in no way to conflict with our proposition. So we may argue, too, that the citizen owes his country all the service he can render it, and that his public responsibility, therefore, can neither be increased nor diminished by any change of circumstance; but common sense and conscience tell us, that in the character of a sentinel, or general of an army, or representative to a foreign court, he has peculiar responsibilities which do not belong to him in the private retirement of his fireside. And it is false logic, that would persuade the Christian, who makes a public profession of religion, that he has no additional responsibility growing out of his new relation to the world. Now this responsibility of a distinct profession, is what every follower of Jesus Christ is required to take upon himself, by the whole tenor of the New Testament. Has this duty been sufficiently attended to, by the members of our denomination ? If not, sin lieth at our door, undermining the foundation of our public edifices, while we are fondly rejoicing in the rapidity of its upward progress ; a progress which, in that case, can only insure its fall. There can be no question, that the real, permanent strength of our community lies not in its nunibers of all sorts and characters, not in the multitude of its new accessions, but in that smaller body of believers, whose faith is their moral and spiritual life'; and every means should be employed which will cherish this principle and diffuse it more widely among us. Let those who are actuated by it, solemnly pledge themselves together, in the name of their Master, and they will give new strength to their own resolves, and additional influence to their example on the rest of the community. The same law of our nature holds good here, that operates in other enterprises, in which covenants somewhat similar have been tried with a success truly astonishing.”
In one sense,
IV. Mr. Balfour has also written earnestly on this subject, and defended the Lord's Supper as an institution binding on Christians at the present day, by the express command of the Lord Jesus. We make a brief extract from an article of his, published some years since, on the words of Paul, 1 Cor. xi. 23 - 26, to which the attention of the reader is directed.
“ The general phraseology Paul uses, seems to be taken from the accounts given of the Lord's Supper, Matt. xxvi. 26 – 29 ; Mark xiv. 22 – 25 ; Luke xxii.
20. Some of the phrases are precisely the same, and most of them are the same in substance. I am inclined to think, Paul received his information about the Lord's Supper, principally from Luke, or his gospel, for he only uses the words this do in remembrance of me.' Paul uses these words twice, after taking the bread in the Lord's Supper as well as the cup.
And Luke's account seems to imply, that our Lord used them twice. Permit me here to ask, do not these words contain a command to observe the Lord's Supa per ? A command, not only from Paul as an apostle, but a command from the Lord himself. If the words,
; "This do in remembrance of me,' do not amount to a command, what words would amount to this? What do they mean, if this is denied ?
“ Again : Paul here says, the Lord's Supper was instituted the same night in which Jesus was betrayed,' which agrees
with the accounts given of it in the gospels. It appears to me from them, that the passover was eaten that night by Jesus and his disciples in the usual manner; and that the Lord's Supper took place at the close of it, and before they rose from the table. Paul takes no notice of the passover ; or intimates that it 'was the Lord's Supper ; or that the passover was changed into the Lord's Supper on that occasion. If any thing like this is suggested, either in the gospels, or by Paul in this passage, I confess my inability to perceive it.
Again : The design of the Lord's Supper, stated in the gospels and by Paul, is the same. i This do in remembrance of me,' said our Lord. And Paul here says, ' This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.' I am aware, some say, the phrase "till he come,' only means, until he came at the destruction of Jerusalem. But where is the proof of this ? It is certain our Lord is to come at the resurrection of the dead, as 1 Thes. iv. 15, and other passages show. Besides, I ask, can any good reason be assigned, why Christians should show forth the Lord's death before, and not after, the destruction of Jerusalem ? I may
also ask, were Christians who lived before this period, more likely to forget Christ's death than those who lived after it ? Were they who saw it take place, under the necessity of showing it forth in the Lord's Supper, to refresh their memories with it, and yet are we so prone to remember his death, that we have no need to do this? He that can believe this let him believe it, but I pray to be excused.
“ Such, in brief; are my views of this passage concerning the Lord's Supper. But if I am mistaken, and . if it can be shown that there is no divine command for its observance, I shall abandon them. I will do more;
I will pay no regard to the observance of the Lord's Supper on the ground of expediency or utility. It will be of no use to urge its observance on me from these grounds, or even on the ground of love and gratitude to the Saviour, until it is proved, that I do show my love and gratitude to him by doing things he has not commanded.. But, when this is proved, I shall be at a little loss to prove, that the Catholics are of all Christians the most grateful to him, for, in doing things Christ has not commanded, they excel all others. I suspect, Universalists would, on this ground, be deemed the most ungrateful sect in the land, for comparatively few of them pay much regard to human inventions in religion, out of gratitude and love to Jesus Christ. It is true, some deny there is any command to observe the Lord's Day, the Lord's Supper, or baptism, yet pay regard to them on the ground of expediency, utility, and in compliance with people's prejudices. Other sects have reproached us with a neglect of these things, which they deem divine institutions. But if they are not, have not foundation in divine authority, it appears to me they ought to be utterly abandoned as human inventions, for we are Christ's friends if we do (whatsoever he hath commanded us.'
“ To conclude. If there be no divine authority for Christians to observe the Lord's Day, baptism, and the Lord's Supper, I sincerely wish some person would make this manifest, for I have no desire to have the confounding question put to me, 'Who hath required such things at your hand ?' When I am satisfied they are not sanctioned by divine authority, I will pay no regard to them. I shall trouble no one with my prejudices in favor of them, on any ground whatever, but shall discard them, as I do all human inventions in religion. To be consistent, I must do this ; for how can I act otherwise, yet blame Catholics for many things which they practise."
V. The question is very frequently asked, “Who may, with propriety, join in the celebration of the Supper ?” This is an important question. We will an
swer it according to the best of our ability. We say, then, that all who believe in Christ, as the Son of God, the sent of the Father ; who give credence to his instructions, and who endeavour to honor their profession of faith in the Redeemer with well-ordered lives and conversation. No other qualification was required by the primitive disciples, if we understand their practice as recorded in the New Testament. This is manifest- . ly a proper qualification. The object of the festival is to bear up a remembrance of Christ, as the Saviour of the world, and to " show forth his death.” Those, therefore, who have no faith in Christ as the anointed and sent of God, cannot with propriety attend to the ordinance, neither would they feel any desire to do so. The institution would possess no interest in their view; but would, on the contrary, be regarded by them as one of the rites of a spurious religion. We adhere, therefore, to the position at first advanced, — that all who believe in Christ as the appointed Saviour of the world, and who endeavour to honor him in their lives, may, with propriety, join in the celebration of the Supper. But, it may be inquired,
be inquired, “Do you have no other test ? Is it not necessary, that persons should previously have been converted ?"
It is necessary people should have been previously converted, if they are not believers in the religion of Christ. We suppose them to have been made acquainted with the religion of Jesus, and his character as their master, when we say they believe in Christ as the appointed Saviour of the world. If this has been made a matter of gradual education (the best means of being brought to know Christ), it supersedes of course the necessity of a less gradual conversion. There is much which passes in the world under the name of conversion to God, which we think is very far from being
As to a radical change of nature, it is impossible in itself, and cannot therefore be regarded as a qualification. We do not think it necessary, that a man