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apostle. Had there not been the continuance so defi. nitely prescribed, the same would have been the result of the end to be answered by the ordinance; which, there being nothing declared to the contrary, ought to be the only line of limit to the duration. So long there. fore as the death of the Lord shall be available to the pardon of sin; and so long as, in consequence of the imperfections of mankind in general, a sensible memorial of that event may contribute to the impressing of it on their minds; the command must have been intended to continue. It is here recollected, however, that the words quoted have been construed to signify -until he come in the hearts of those, to whom the epistle was addressed. Now although the apostle, on the subject in hand, passes a censure on a proportion of the Corinthian Church; and in other parts of the epistle uses language indicative of fault; yet to suppose, that the whole Church were without the coming of Christ in their hearts, after its being said in the beginning of the epistle, that they were “ enriched in all utterance and in all knowledge,”* and that they “came behind in no gift,"'+ is a manifest inconsistency.
That there is further an inconsistency, in supposing that the command was temporary; and yet, that the apostolick age should pass away without any intimation of discontinuance, and without historick record to show that such an idea was entertained by any description of people, whether orthodox or heretick; was insisted on in the lecture. But there was not room to notice the counter fact which has been set up, in our Lord's washing of the feet of his disciples; and in his enjoining of them to do to one another, as he had done to them. The diversity of the cases may be made to appear from the following considerations.
First: the matter typified by the Eucharist, was the meritorious mean of redemption: whereas the washing of the feet was expressive of a single grace in Christian morals; although shown by this strong figure to be of
the essence of them; and especially called for by the evidences apparent in the apostles, of having their minds occupied by schemes of worldly greatness and dominion. Under these circumstances, the lat. ter subject was less likely than the former, to be made the occasion of a commemorative ordinance of the Church, to be celebrated at all times and in all places.
Secondly: It is an acknowledged maxim, that laws may be explained by cotemporary facts. It is not alleged of the disciples of our Lord, that by any act of theirs, they showed their sense of their mas• ters words to be the establishing of an outward ceremony, expressive of the inward grace which had been enjoined on them. Not only may the disciples be pronounced the best expositors of this text, on account of their past habits of intercourse with their master, and on account of their subsequent interviews with him between his resurrection and his ascension; but because of that spirit of inspiration, which was to “bring all things to their remembrance, whatsoever he had said unto them."* It did not bring this subject to their remembrance, as a rite of the Christian Church: and therefore, it is not to be put on a footing in this respect with a rite which, under the same inspiration, they both practised themselves, and enjoined on all the Churches planted by them throughout the world.
It would be endless, were the design entertained of discussing all the passages, which are brought to disparage observances proper to the outward man, in comparison of the confessedly more estimable worship of the heart. An instance of this, is the frequent citing of Romans xiv. 17.--" The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." From which it is argued, that since bread and wine are meat and drink, they are foreign to every question pertaining to the kingdom of God. The taking of mere words, without reference to the design of them, is a fruitful source of errour. The design of the apostle in the above, was to disparage arbitrary and useless distinctions concerning meats and drinks. Putting this, and also putting the present question out of view; he could never have said, that the use of meats and of drinks had nothing to do with the kingdom of God: for in that case, what becomes of the demands of temperance? As to the meat and drink of the Eucharist, none say, that they are the kingdom of God-or the Church; although Christians generally say, that the use of those elements in an act of religious worship, is a tie of their association.
* John, xiv, 26.
The earnest desire of resolving the subject commemorated in the Eucharist, into a spiritual exercise unconnected with the use of the elements of bread and wine, has induced the looking to the sixth chapter of St. John, as giving an account of that feeding on the body and the blood of Christ, which others connect with the use of the elements referred to. It will be here conceded to the opposite opinion, that the said chapter is unconnected with the transaction, recorded at the conclusion of the Paschal Supper; any further, than as they both refer to the profiting by the doctrinal instructions of Christ; and to the spiritual nourishment, which we derive from them: these subjects being essentially important, independently on the Eucharist, yet especially represented in that ordinance. But there being attached to Christianity certain benefits, which would have remained such, had there been no typical representation of them subsequent. ly ordained; the position of the appointment of the latter, can never be disproved by the independent importance of the subjects typified.
This discussion shall conclude with a comment on the position sometimes made, that the attainable perfection of Christianity dispenses with the use of
elements. Such was not the decision of the blessed person, who knew no sin, when he submitted to be baptized, on the principle—that “thus it became him to fulfil all righteousness.”* The plea now noticed, can never be sustained on gospel grounds. How far it is connected with freedom from sin in conduct, or the contrary, is not a part of the present design to ascertain; any further than to appeal to the notorious fact, that the position has been made in print by many, who, in the very act of supporting it, have discovered in a wrathful spirit, unequivocal evidences of a falling very far short of the perfection, which had been affirmed by them to exalt every Christian above the need of ordinances.
This term, confessedly not known in theology, until a comparatively late period of the Church, is used to express a change, supposed to be made during the prayer of consecration, of the substance of the sacramental bread and wine, into the substance of the body and the blood of Christ: the accidents of the elements remaining, that is, their figure, their colour, and their taste; and whatever else is the subject of sense.
The passages of scripture, cited in evidence of this doctrine,
are our Lord's discourse already referred to, in the sixth chapter of the gospel of St. John; and the words uttered by him in the instituting of the Eucharist, as recorded by St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke; and by St. Paul, in the eleventh chapter of the first Epistle to the Co. rinthians.
As to the discourse in the sixth chapter of the
* Matt. iii. 15.
Gospel of St. John; it is not natural to suppose, that Christ had therein any reference to an ordinance, of which nothing is said in the place; or elsewhere, until the time of its being instituted. But be this as it may; the discourse was reduced to figure, by the express interpretation of the Divine Deliverer of it; when he subjoined, in consequence of offence taken by the disciples at the letter of the discourse
“ It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life."* The interpretation here given, is precisely the sense in which the passage was understood by the early writers of the Church; of which only a few instances shall be given. Tertullian says " Because the word was made flesh, therefore he was desired for life; to be de. voured by hearing, to be chewed by the under standing, to be digested by faith.”+ Origen says“If we understand these words of Christ **** literally, this letter kills. For there is in the New Testament a letter that kills him, who does not spiritually understand those things which are spo. ken.”I St. Chrysostom says_" These things are such as have in them nothing carnal, nor any carnal consequence.” And St. Austin says "To be. lieve in him, is to eat the living bread: he who believes in him, eats.”I
The words in the four places cited are...“ This is my body," and..." This is my blood:” except that St. Lukeand St. Paulhaveit, in reference to the wine ... This cup is the New Testament” (or covenant) * in my blood.” Here is a varied phraseology, worthy of notice. According to the literal interpretation pleaded for, the wine is not the seal of the 'covenant, but this itself..-a sense not advocated by any. Accordingly, as “This is my blood”...the words used in two of the places --and " This cup
* Verse 63. De Resurrectione Carnis, cap. 37. Lecjo, a. Hom. 7. S Hom. 47. # Tract 26. in St. John.