« ForrigeFortsæt »
I fear we are under a similar mistake with those who brought the woman to Christ for judgment, who was taken in adultery. They made a true statement, when they said Moses commanded that such should be stoned; for he certainly had commanded that such an one should surely be put to death; and I do not find that this law had been abrogated at that time; but after he had said, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her, they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out, one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last. Then Jesus said unto this woman, Where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, no man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee: and sin no more,* Should our Saviour say the same to us, he that is without sin among us, let him first shut the door against his brethren, we should be soon convicted of our error.f
4th. If we view the subject in its nature, we shall see it is expressive of the vital union existing between Christ and believe ers, who are the members of his body. "For we being many, says the Aposle, "are one bread and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread." I Believers, when under the exercise of grace, are so closely united to him, like the members of the body to the head, or the branches to the vine, that they derive life and nourishment from him. When this is set forth by the symbols of his broken body, and sin-atoning blood, it hath a wonderful tendency to cement our hearts together like David's and Jonathan's, or like the members of one body, that are fastened together by joints and bands: and if there be an internal and spiritual union, let there be an external union also; for our Saviour says, “is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not to be set on a candlestick?”But if we implicitly say to some of the members of the body, "stand by thyself; come not near to me; for I am holier than thou;'|| it is like dividing the living child, which the true mother would in no wise have done. T Let those who act the part of the false mother, remember what the scripture saith: “is Christ divided? Can we divide him, and each one have a part? or must each one have a
whole Saviour? Even the soldiers who crucified Christ, did not į rend his coat:** and shall we rend and divide his children at his
* When our Lord dismissed the womau taken in adultery, though he did not proceed to judge her, he sulemnly charged her lo sin no more. The ad. vocates for strict communion, when they dismiss Puedobaptists, give them uo such charge. Their language seems to be, ''go sin by yourselves, and we are satisfied."- Robert Hall. Lev.xx. 10. Deut. xxii. 22. Exod. xvi. 38, 39, 40. Jobo viii. 3, 11. 1 Cor. 4. 17. Mark iv, 21. || Isa. lxv. 5. 1 1 Kings iii, 25, 28. ** John xix. 24.
table? They are called the "bride," the Lamb's wife, in the sing ular oumber.* And in dividing them we strike a deadly blow at the life of religion! O, my dear brethren, let us remember what our Lord says: “What, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put asunder:"'and as he hath fitly joined the whole
body of believers in Christ together, and compacted them so that every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love, let us take no means, either di. rectly or indirectly, to put them asunder. As the believer's hope is grounded on the merits of Christ, refusing to unite with christians in setting forth his death, is implicitly denying out dependance on him for salvation.
Again; according to such a practice, we should separate between the labourer and his wages, and violate the scripture which saith, “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn." And the labourer is worthy of his hire. In a literal sense it is natural for men, after having laboured together for a season, to sit down with each other at the same table, and eat and drink; and, even if they cannot agree to labour together in all the concerns of life, yet, when they retire from their labour, they can sit down and eat and drinkin company. And, after Paul and Barnabas departed asunder, and could not agree to go and labour together for certain reasons, yet I do not conclude that they would have separated at the Lord's table. Sometimes members of the same family or company disagree in many things, but they can agree to eat and drink together; if they could not, but some of the members of the family or company must be finally and forever excluded from the table and provisions of the house, it certainly would be a mark of their exclusion from the rest of the number. TIt often happens, that members of the game church dissent and separate from each other, in certain points of doctrine and practice, and they cannot fellowship certain members in some parts of the worship of God, because they do not consider these members to be qualified to perform in that part of worship. But they can at the same time sit down with them at the Lord's table. If they could not, but must separate there, it certainly would be considered by churches of different denominations and the world, as a mark of excommuni
* Rev. xxi. 9. + Malt. 19, 6. Ep. iy. 16 § 1 Tim v. 18. 1 Cor. ix. 9. || Acts sv 39.—TMany of our brethren will here reply, that we do not hin. der their communion among themselves, but we do not think it our duty to partake with them This is virtually saying, that we do not believe them to be right in commemorating the death of their Saviour; for if we did, what would binder our partaking with them.
cation. And if so, we certainly violate the general rules of the churches of different denominations, to practice as we bave done, in fellowshiping professors in every other part of the worship of God excepting this.
5th. Let us view the scriptures in their general course, and in this way search for light on the subject before us. Do we not find that in 80 doing in our close researches, God, by the mouth of his prophets, Christ and his apostles, has exhibited and kept in view the vital part of religion, as the sole matter, the sum and 6 obstance; even sometimes at the expence of the letter, or the external parts of religion, when the nature of the case required w?-When the Pharisees accused the disciples of doing that which was not lawful to do on the sabbath day, our Saviour informed them, that although the law of Moses was-striot on that point, without any toleration, yet the nature of the case required, that on certain occasions there should be a variation from the letter of that law. And he introduced examples of this kind, under the same law. “Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him;" &c. "Or. have ye not read ip the law how, that, on the Sabbath day, the priests id the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacri. fice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. And he said unto them, the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”* Here our Saviour taught them, that in cases of necessity, the rule of the letter of the law was laid aside. And when one of the servants of David said, that those men who went not with them to the battle (because they were so faint that they could not,) should not share with them in the spoil which they had taken, David said, ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the Lord hath given us. For who will hearken unto you in this matter? But as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the staff; they shall part aliket-So those who went not down with us into the water to be baptised, by reason of the weakness of their faith in that mode; yet, if they have the same object in view with us, viz. to overcome their spiritual enemies, let them share with us at our Lord's table. Let us remember what our Saviour .said, concerning the woman who anointed his head with the box of ointment. “Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath Wrought a good work on me. She baib done what she could. I We are pot informed that this woman had received any command from her Lord, to prepare this costly ointment, and to anoint his head. There were some that bad indignation within
*Exod. X, 8-12 Num. xv, 32-36. Mat. xii, 1-7, Mark ii, 27. Isa, i, 12. Sam. 158, 10, 22, 23, 34 Mark xiv, 3, &c.
themselves, because she did it; but she had a desire to dů something for her Lord; her motive was good, and her Lord said let her alone; why trouble ye her?* Here we see the vast dif. ferance between the minds of some of his disciples then present, and that of our Lord. They thought she had certainly done wrong; but our Saviour so far justified her in the deed, that he said “Verily I say unto you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached, throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of, for a memorial of her.' He said, she is come beforehand to anoint my body to the burying. And it was a free will act, without any command from her Lord. But our Lord has left an express command for his disciples to commemorate his death, and if it was lawful for the woman to anoint his body for the burial without any command, is it not lawful for his children to shew forth his death agreeably to an express command. But if the argument still be continued, that they have never been baptized agreeable to gospel order, let it be considered that if the inside of the cup and platter be cleansed, that the outside may be clean also1-If the inside of the cup and platter be cleansed, this is the principle thing. And if we swerve from this principle, we must take heed, lest we be found under the government of the same spirit, that the beloved disciple John was under, when he said Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us; and we forbid him, because he followeth not us. & But Jesus said."Forbid him not: for there is no man which shail do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.|| What a great mistake did this beloved disciple labour under, and he stands not alone on sacred writ. Joshua, another servant of the Lord was found under the same mistake, when he requested Moses to forbid two of the prophets, when they were prophesying by the spirit of the Lord. But Moses who had more light said would to God that all the Lord's people were prophets and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”
Elijah, another faithful servant was found under a similar mis
*Our Baptist brethren generally let their Pedo.baptist brethren alone, and say ihey will not trouble ther, if they have a mind to commune p. mong themselves, but we should consider, my brethren, what our Lord says, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scatereth abroad.- Mat. xxvi, 8. #Mat. xxiii , 26.
$ It seems that this disciple thought, that he bad acted noble for his Master, and had no doubt, but Ibat bis conduct would meet bis Masters approbation. And I have no doubt, but that our close communion Bar. tists are generally sincere, and think they are doing bonor to the cause of Christ, wheu they implicitly forbid all from coming to the table of the Lord, who follow not them, in the ordinance of Baptism.|| Mar. ix. 38, &c.
take, when he complained that he was left alone and they sought his life. But the Lord who seeth not as man seeth, informed him that there were seven thousand in Israel, which had pot bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which had not kissed him."
Let these three men of God, with their mistaken views of his mind, serve as a looking-glass to bring our infirmities into view, and let us look with diligence to see if we do not discover a principle that looks very much like thier mistakes, when we imagine that there are none besides our own denominations that are qualified to shew forth the death of their Saviour.t With this principle, we should be under the necessity of excluding some of the most eminent Christians from the table of the Lord. If Whitefield, Brainard and others (who have hazarded their lives for the Redeemer, in contending against earth and hell) were present at one of our communion seasons, we should be under the necessity of saying stand off, when no doubt but we should give place for them before, and immediately after our communion, to preach and take the lead in the worship of God. Withoutprinciple we should exclude the sweet psalmist of the gospel Church, viz: Dr. Watts; and while we make use of his hymns at thetable, in preference to any productions of our own denomination, we are virtually excluding their author, who no doubt possessed as great a degree of the spirit of communion with Christ, as many of us who are bid welcome to partake. It seems, in so doing, we are putting asunder what God hath joined together. We are making use of his hymns at the tablema work made ready to our handswe are entering into his labour and enjoying the benefit of his work; eating, as it were, of the fruit of the vineyard which he hath planted, that affords such a rich supply, and not suffering him to partake with us. The Apostle saith, ! “If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst give him drink.”I And if a friend to us and the Saviour, hunger and thirst for that bread and wine of which our Lord hath said, eat and drink ye
all of it, shall we'withhold it? even that which is not ours but the the body and blood of Christ.
But let us notice the scope of the scriptures, and see what they present to our view, as the great criterion by which the point must be decided. And we find that they inform us that "pure religion, and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."ß Now, the end of the com
*Num. xi. 26 -- Strangers would suppose if they saw processors of
religion separating at the table of the Lord, ihat those who must withdraw Ваг had no interest in the Saviour; but when they come to learn that we ac
knowledge them to bave been redeemed by the blood of Christ, our comduct must appear to many an incomprehensible mystery. -Kings, aix, 10,14,18, Ro.xi,3. Ro. xii. 20, ŞJam. 1. 27. Isa. viii, 6,72. Tim, i. 16,17,18.