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"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 per
"Again: The design of the Lord's Supper, stated in the gospels and by Paul, is the same. 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 ts observance, I shall abandon them. I will do more;
I will pay no regard to the observance of the Lord's
confounding question put to me, Who hath required
"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
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 manifestly 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, "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
should believe in the dogmas of any of the sects, such as total depravity, endless hell torments, the trinity, vicarious atonement, &c., to qualify him; and for the very best of all reasons, viz. because those doctrines are not taught in the Scriptures. The only qualification required by the primitive disciples, was a rational and practical faith in Jesus, as the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world.
It is asked, "Must they not have joined a church?" The Greek word izzinoia rendered church, signifies an assembly, a company, and was applied to any assembly of persons; see Acts xix. 32, where it is rendered assembly. When applied to Christians, it signified the company of Christian believers, all who had embraced Christ as the sent of God. In this sense it is necessary to become members of the church, that is, it is necessary to be a Christian, and to be known and ranked as such, to make an open profession of your faith in Christ. We regret the present distinction of Christians into two parties, the church and the congregation; and we recommend a measure which will abolish the distinction. Let all Christian believers join the visible church. This act is saying to the world, "I believe in Christ, I am willing to have it known, — I am not ashamed of my Lord, I love the fellowship of his disciples, and I respect his ordinances." If this recommendation should be followed, the wall of separation between the Christian church, and the Christian congregation would be thrown down; and of the twain there would be one flesh. All then, (excepting children not arrived to years of sufficient judgment,) would join the celebration, as they certainly should. It is too often the case now, that when the Supper is administered, five sixths of the Christians present, and sometimes more, rise and leave the house, as though they had of right no part or lot in the matter whatsoever. "These things ought not so to be." It is radically wrong, and the practice ought to be changed as speedily as possible. It is wrong in itself, as well as
wounding to the feelings of the officiating clergyman, and to the members who remain, thus to be forsaken, as it were, by their brethren. This state of things ought not to be permitted to exist another year; the good sense of the community should put an end to it. Is it asked, whether we would compel people to observe the ordinance against their wishes? We answer,
But every Christian ought to have a strong desire to use all proper means whereby Christ and his religion may be kept in remembrance. We would do no violence to the will; but we would endeavour to change it, and bring it into acquiescence to the spirit of the Christian religion. There is nothing disagreeable, nor grievous in the service; it is both pleasant and reasonable. It is of vast benefit to the church. It stands forth as a proof of the religion of Christ, being a constant festival, which has been kept up from the age of Christ to the present time. If Jesus did not live and die for men according to the Scriptures, how could this institution, which is designed to commemorate his death, ever have been established ? The deceit would have been so palpable in the first attempt, that it could not possibly have succeeded. When it was at first established, therefore, it must have been known, that Jesus was present; because the original account avers, that he was present, and the apostles could not have been deceived about it. He declared that he should die upon the cross, and this ordinance is a perpetual memorial of it, publicly observed. Now if he did not die upon the cross, according to his foretelling, how could this institution ever have been set up; for the deceit would have been so palpable, that it would have exposed itself. This institution has been handed down from age to age, without intermission, and is a standing memorial, an invincible argument, that Jesus lived and died for men. If this institution should cease, one of the evidences of our religion would be impaired. What Christian then will think it unimportant? Who among you, brethren Universalists, will be indifferent to the