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apostle has it, 1 Cor. iv. 20. "The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power;" of which power, and its coming from on high upon the apostles, read Acts i. 5, 7, 8.
For when they asked Christ, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom again to Israel," and that he told them, "It was not for them to know the times or the seasons, which the Father had put into his own power;" he also adds, "But ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem and Judea, and in Samaria, and in the uttermost parts of the earth." This power was the kingdom of God, for it "stands in power," says the apostle: but it seems he thought fit to wave their question, as to a direct answer, and left it a secret to be revealed unto them, when the Holy Ghost should come, and the power from on high should fall upon them: and thus he takes his leave of them, and is immediately received by a cloud out of their sight.
Before I conclude this paragraph, I would observe, First, That it was the passover, and custom of the Jews, which, properly speaking, we conceive have no just plea to continue as a gospel-ordinance, or institution, since it was a type of him to come, and therefore ended, as to institution, by his coming.
Secondly, That the evangelist John, the beloved disciple, that lay in the bosom of Christ, does not so much as mention it, or water-baptism, as left by Christ, to be continued by his followers. Concerning the Spirit's baptism, though he uses not the word baptism, he is very full, John 14th, 16th, and 17th chapters, where he tells thein, "that he would send them the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, to lead them into all truth, and that he would dwell with them for ever."
say, it seems very improbable, if not incredible, that what the bishop stiles the Badges of Christianity,' in his 17th paragraph, should be wholly forgotten by so great an apostle of Christianity.
Thirdly, And as the beloved disciple says nothing of these visible signs, which the bishop calls the Badges of Christianity,' so neither are they made an article of any of the ancient creeds extant, which certainly does not make for their credit or authority: since, had they been of that importance they are now by some esteemed, we cannot think they would have been forgot by the compilers of those creeds.
Fourthly, The apostle Paul, though he repeats the tradition he received of the Lord's supper, that night he was betrayed, does not injoin it; but as often as the Corinthians
did it, he tells them, they should do it in remembrance of Christ which is as far from commanding it, as it would be, if the bishop should say to his friend, As often as he comes to Cork, he should come and eat with him,' an obligation upon that person to come often to Cork. So that though the apostle bids them, that as often as they did it, they should do it in remembrance of Christ, yet he does not thereby bid them do it often, if at all.
Fifthly, And whereas the bishop would make it a fresh revelation to the apostle, when he says, "For I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you," I must dissent from him. I cannot apprehend that means any more than this, that what account he had received of Christ's eating the supper with his disciples, the night before he was betrayed, the same also he had delivered unto them' for what need could there be of an immediate revelation, for so late a fact, so well witnessed by the disciples? But if my reader will peruse that part of the chapter which relates to the supper, he will find the stress lies upon "remembering of the Lord," which is, indeed, our daily, indispensable duty; and he that lives without it, may be said "to live without God in the world;" of which those Corinthians at that time seemed so insensible, and as such are severely reproved by the apostle, being irreverent, greedy, and drunken, hardly fit for the sign, and less able to discern the thing signified.
Sixthly, Nor does the apostle seem to recommend this practice, but rather reprehend the abuse of it: and if my reader will look back to the foregoing chapter, from the beginning to the 18th verse, he may find a more spiritual supper, and mystical bread and cup, hinted at by the apostle, as well as Mat. xxvi. 29. Rev. iii. 20. by our Lord Jesus Christ himself: which is, indeed, very copiously expressed by Luke, in the parable of the supper, chap. xiv. from the 16th to the 24th verse, where one that was at meat with Christ, speaking of the blessedness of eating of bread in the kingdom of God, Christ takes occasion to show forth the gospelsupper by a parable, viz." A certain man made a great supper, and bid many, but they refused, upon divers pretences, and came not he sent out a second and third time to invite an inferior sort of guests, and they came to the supper," that is, they received the gospel, which is the power of God to salvation, and the evidence, as well as means, of it: which Christ in the 27th verse farther expresses thus, viz. "And whosoever doth not bear my cross, and follow me, cannot be my disciple." Now "the cross of Chrsst," the same apostle also says, "is the power of God," 1 Cor. i. 18. All
which refers to an inward and spiritual work, and supper, and that they who receive Christ in spirit, sup with him in spirit, being the partakers of his spiritual supper, which Christ promises, and prepares for all those that open, at his knocks, the door of their hearts unto him, Rev. iii.
Seventhly, But besides what I have said, both from scripture, and the nature of the thing, in proof of Christ's spiritual supper, and defence of our disuse of the visible sign, the bishop himself does the same thing, in relation to another ordinance: for our Lord Jesus Christ did as solemnly command his disciples to "wash one another's feet," as to ' eat the supper.' The passage is large and edifying, and I must recommend to my reader, to peruse his Bible, John xiii. But that part of it which more strictly concerns this point, between the bishop and me, I shall repeat here, verses 12, 13, 14, 15. "So after he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am : if I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet: for I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you." Thus Christ commanded his disciples, not only by his authority, but example. Now does the bishop, and his friends, fol low Christ's example, and obey this precept? He and they know they do not. What must I infer from thence, that the bishop is no Christian? I suppose he would take it very ill from me, though he has treated me, and my friends, after that sort. But I will show him a better example, and suppose he thinks, that if Christian ministers and people walk humbly towards God, and one with another, they fulfil this commandment, though they disuse the sign, by which the Lord Jesus expressed and recommended humility to his followers: now that which excuses the bishop, in reference to this ordinance of washing of feet,' will also excuse our disuse of the supper, viz. 'Our eating of the spiritual bread and wine of the kingdom; the thing signified by the outward supper.' But it is an error incident to frail man, to prefer the practice of those things that have a show of religion, and have least of uneasiness, and of the nature of the cross of Christ, in their performance. Just thus it is easier to receive the supper, than to be humble, if not easier than to wash feet for one is but a memorial of Christ, but the other, perhaps, is a reproach of the present practice, and, to be sure, a command to mortification and self-denial, the hardest lesson in religion. And who knows but for that reason it has been dropped so long; since it must be very
uneasy for people to continue a custom, to which their daily practice is so visible a contradiction: though, I hear, the Roman bishop mocks the text once a year.
Eighthly, But in relation to the supper, we farther say, the practice is varied; then they sat; now one sort stands; another walks; a third kneels; a fourth lies down upon the ground, as in the East-countries. The Romans have one opinion, the Greeks another; and the Lutherans and Calvinists divide, to great bitterness, in their sentiments about
Ninthly, Again, in those days they were disciples, such as followed Christ; now all are admitted that profess Chris tianity, though they do not follow him, or forsake any thing for his name-sake, or keep any of his holy precepts, Matt. the 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters.
Tenthly, Nor is this all we have to say, to justify our dis use of this practice: it is too much looked at, and relied upon, by the people: and, indeed, is become a kind of Protestant extreme unction: for if the generality of them can but have it administered just before they die, they are apt to presume upon it for an acceptance in the other world. And, indeed, it is very frequent, if not natural, for many men to excuse their disobedience by sacrifice; and where ceremonies, or shadowy services, are continued, people rest upon the observance of them, and indulge themselves in the neglect of the doctrine of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. I need not look far, nor yet the bishop, for a proof of what I say; we can hardly miss, which way soever we throw our eyes, the more is the pity; and as this is no small abuse of primitive practice, so no small argument for our disuse of it. For when the brazen serpent was over-valued by the Jews, God, that had commanded it for their benefit, stirred up Hezekiah to destroy it.
Eleventhly, Besides, these things are become matter of gain, and made a sacerdotal revenue, not to say merchandize; which has also helped to scandalize people of tender consciences, who think it a profanation of religion, to suffer any part of it to be excised to the people, that ought to be free.
Twelfthly, But passing that by at present, and supposing water-baptism and the supper were not antiquated, but still in force, who is there qualified to administer them? Who has received a commission, or the mind of the Holy Ghost, and power from on high to perform these things? For if those that hold they are in force, have no divine force or authority to qualify them to administer them, there will be but a lifeless imitation, instead of an edifying reality. Which
leads me to what I promised long since, that I would, at the close of this discourse, say something of the 'true ground of our difference and dissent.'
I say then, that where we are supposed to differ most, we differ least; and where we are believed to differ least, we most of all differ which I explain thus. It is generally thought, that we do not hold the common doctrines of Christianity, but have introduced new and erroneous ones in lieu thereof: whereas we plainly and entirely believe the truths contained in the creed, that is commonly called The Apostles'; which is very comprehensive, as well as ancient. But that which hath affected our minds most, and engaged us in this separation, was the great carnality and emptiness, both of ministers and people, under their profession of religion they having hardly "the form of godliness," but, generally speaking, "denying the power thereof," from whom, the scripture warns believers to "turn away.
Next, ministers being made such, and preaching, and the people worshipping, without the spirit, confining the operations of it to the first or apostolical times, as if these did not want them as much, or that Christ would be less propitious, where his gifts were not less needful; I say, an human and lifeless ministry and worship, together with the great worldliness of professors, have occasioned our separation; and the persecution that has commonly followed it, hath abundantly confirmed our judgment in that matter. Hence it was we retired ourselves to wait upon God together, according to the gift of his Holy Spirit; and, as the apostle Paul exhorted the Athenians, Acts xvii. "We felt after him (with our souls) if by any means we might find him, and hear what God the Lord would say unto us, who speaks peace unto his people, and his saints; but let them never turn to folly any more.' We could not, I say, tell how to think that such as God had never sent, but ran of themselves, and were made ministers by human learning and authority, not knowing the work of the spirit to their own regeneration, could possibly profit, or edify the people unto their regeneration: and yet that is the very work and end of the true gospel-ministry; for no man can guide another in the way he himself never trod.
Besides, we apprehended the ministry was very much a temporal preferment, and therefore few were to be found among them, that did not court the better places, I mean those that gave the greatest pay, and by those methods mounted to worldly wealth and honour, as the rest of the world did turning alms into dues, and, by law, making gifts rents; and vexing those extremely, that, for conscience