Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

6

of peace in the country at large the year past, and particularly go with the worthy example of Connecticut. No state, we suspect, as such, has of late experienced so great an influx of pacific influences, and none, so far as we are informed, has been more disposed to pour them forth and shed them abroad, as is happily manifest in the publication of Newspaper articles in favor of peace, which we have noticed occasionally, and particularly of this address by Mr. Yale. We hope too she may be encouraged to go on, and we shall not be sorry to see her take the lead, if others are remiss, in awakening the public mind effectually on the whole subject of Peace and War, so that it shall no more slumber over it, till the olive branch of peace shall be welcomed univessally, and the nations shall learn war no more.

In relation to Mr. Yale's address, it is of a close, sententious, pithy character, and may be considered as a fair specimen of the better sort of addresses, delivered on similar occasions. The general subject is well announced in the title, · War unreasonable and unscriptural ;' and the discussion exhibits a combined view of reason and scripture, showing the evil of war as unnatural, wasteful, foolish and inhuman; not required by God, but forbidden; at variance with the Gospel, unfavorable to the conversion of sinners, opposed to the progress of Christianity and greatly ruinous to souls. The thoughts suggested on all these topics are pertinent and forcible, and on some overwhelming. We wish every statesman, and indeed every man, woman and child would read it,

- We were particularly pleased with the proposition, that, should occasioni offer, the United States should take the first national stand in favor of uni versal and permanent peace.' Angels would look on it as a glorious attitude.

As a specimen of the address, we quote the closing paragraph.

“ I seem to see this favored nation-already first in political and civil liberty; first in general intelligence ; first in religious privileges; first in the temperance movement;-I seem to see her improve her rare advantages, and take the first firm stand in favor of peace. She rises, slow and fearless, in the sublime of pacific principle, lays off her armor to the last article, and reaches forth her affectionate hand to all the world. O how do the stars on her flag brighten into so many suns! and how lovely is the Dove in its cen. tre, in place of the less comely Eagle! England sees the example of her daughter, and hastens to exchange her Lion for the Lamb. Soon, all nations exchange their war-like emblems for those of peaceful cast-for the white ban: ner of the Prince of Peace. And now, the last sound of war has died on the ear; and a grand procession of the nations, unarmed, friendly happy, with appropriate insignia, celebrates the universal, bloodless revolution, the world's great Jubilee; passing under triumphal arches, lofty, and broad, and beautiful as the bow in the heavens after a long, dreary storm. O come, some master-spirit-some Wilberforce, some Clarkson :--COME THOU GREAT PRINCE OF PEACE, COME QUICKLY, AND MAKE THE VISION REAL.'

Errata. In our last number, p. 394, third line from the bottom, for dots,' read clots; p. 395, fifth line from the top, for 08òußoi,' read ouBoi ; also, the same in the reference at the bottom of the same page.

[blocks in formation]

Iminediately before the agonies in Gethsemane, Christ and his disciples partook of the Paschal Feast. It was on Thurs. day evening. The first three ceremonies of the sacred supper had been finished, and the closing ceremony, the distribution of the bread and wine, was now to come.

Here was a fit opportunity for the Master of the feast to display his aptness to teach. While he had been eating the memorial of his nation's deliverance from bon.lage, his soul had been revolving on the still greater deliverance of the world froin sin. The Passover was designed to typify the spiritual fact as well as the temporal, but the disciples recognized only the temporal. Why shall they not now be taught that by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, eternal justice would pass over without punishing the sins of the church? It was fit that, as the Phenix from its ashes, a new and enduring rite should spring from this, which “ was ready to die?"

When the disciples are expecting, their Master to distribute, as usual, the bread, he takes it and sets it apart from its common to a peculiar and sacred use. The Talmudists have preserved the form of thanksgiving prescribed for this fourth ceremony; “Blessed be thou, O Lord, our God, the king of the world, who hast produced this food from the earth.” Having thus given thanks, he distributed the bread, and made the address which is recorded in the xiv. chapter of John; and then, having in a similar manner given thanks for the wine, he disVOL. VI.NO. IX.

41

tributed the liquid emblem, and made the address which is recorded in the xv. and xvi. chapters.*

We do not suppose that all the words which Christ spake during this interesting sacrament are preserved to us.

We have, including Paul's and John's, five different accounts of them, and each narrator mentions some words which the rest omit. The historical notice of this rite suggests some facts which it may be well to consider.

First. The rite was designed to be perpetuated as a Christian sacrament. “ This do in remembrance of me," was addressed not only to those who had believed in him already, but also to every one who hereafter “shall believe on him through their word.” “ For," saith the Apostle, “as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death until he come” to the final judgment at the end of the world. 1 Cor. xi. 26.

The Pauliciani and many of the Socinians have denied the perpetuity of this rite ;t and Barclay in his Apology, (pp. 467 — 470) contends that it can no more be proved to be a standing ordinance, than the ceremony which is enjoined in John xiii. 14 of washing each other's feet. But the two ceremonies are not parallel. For, first. the washing of the disciples feet was on the face of it a representation of a moral duty, and the direction, "ye ought to wash one another's feet," is at first glance viewed as a command to perform the duty which is imaged out. On the other hand we intuitively see, that the supper is prominent, not as an illustration of our duty, so much as a memorial of an event; and by the injunction " do this in remembrance,” our minds are at once fixed upon an external rite “showing the Lords death," and not upon a naked feeling, figuratively denoted by the rite. Secondly, the ceremony of washing the feet was founded on customs peculiar to the Orientals; and necessary for them, and highly agreeable to their tastes; whereas such customs are not adopted among us, are not needed, would be very inconvenient, and indeed disgusting. This is a reason for discontinuing the ceremony. As the supper, however, violates none of our customs, and shocks none of our tastes, there is not the same reason for limiting its observance. Thirdly, the washing of the feet has never been generally observed by the

• That the remarks recorded in John xiv., xv. and xvi. are to be thus divided is probable, or to speak more guardedly, is plausible from their internal character. Newcome and other fl'armonists thus divide them.

Within a few months an attempt has been made to discontinue this site in one of the oldest Unitarian churches in Boston. And why not? What does the ordinance signify to the disbeliever in an atonement ?

+ See Jahn's Archæology, Ø 123 and Ø 149.

on all.

church ; the eating of the bread has always been. Indeed the Apostles under inspiration both practised it, and enjoined it

See Acts ii. 42, 46. xx. 7. 1 Cor. xi. 17-34. 1 Cor. x. 16,

17. Fourthly, there is not so much propriety in observing a ceremony like that of the ablution, as in observing a memorial of the atoning sacrifice. This sacrifice was the great pole-star of the Mosaic economy. It was celebrated by numerous rites in anticipation. Surely then does it not deserve to be now celebrated " in rememberance ?” Is the atonement less valuable since it was made than before? Does it now breathe life and strength into the whole system of truth, and shall it not be preserved fresh in our memories, as it was once preserved fresh in the hopes of the church?

Secondly. Our Saviour and the disciples reclined, as usual, at the table, while they ate the Paschal lamb; and yet the original command which had never been revoked, was, thus shall ye eat it, with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand, and ye shall eat it in baste;" See Exodus xii. 11. This command was given to the Jews when departing on a journey ; it respected a mere mode or form ; it required them to feast in the standing posture. When the condition of the Jews changed, then they changed the mode but retained the substance of the rite ; and by Christ's sanction of the change we are taught that a mere mode is unimportant, that it may be varied according to our varying circumstances, and that so long as its substance and significancy are preserved, an accommodation of it to our customs is no essential departure from its original design. Our mode of celebrating the Eucharist has been changed from the Primitive with perfect propriety. Circumstances do not allow us to celebrate it as the Apostles did in a large upper room; to lie down, with our feet bare, at a common table; to eat unleavened bread, and drink the fruit of vines which grow in our own gardens. The mode in which Christ partook of the sacrament is certain ; yet by his deviation from the original mode of keeping the Passover, he has permitted us to deviate from the original mode of the sacrament. How much greater reason then we have for deviating from the ancient mode of baptism; for it is not certain that Christ had à uniform mode, and if it were so, we who eat leavened bread at the supper, might, on the same principle, consult our convenience at bati-m.

Thirdly. The disciples did not fully understand the meaning of the Eucharist when they first celebrated it.

They could not give up their long cherished hopes of the temporal kingdom, nor understand the meaning of Christ's going away.

[ocr errors]

Soon after the breaking of the bread, Jesus dropped this remark in his address ; " whither 1 go ye know and the way ye know.” But, said Thomas, quickly interrupting him, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest, and bow can we know the way.” Jesus saith, “I am the way.” So after the cup he observed, " a little while, and ye shall not see me, and again a little whil, and ye shall see me." What does this mean," whispered the disciples, "a little while?" we cannot tell what the little while" means. One wonld think, that they might

" have learned from his conver-atirn more than they appear to have done, yet we can easily see how they must have been bewildered and alarmed at the unusual words, "this is my body,"

- this is my blood.” If we attentively examine the sixth chapter of John we shall find it easy to admit

, that the remarkable expressions concerning the bread of life," probably bad reference to the bread of consumion, which had before never been hinted at. But how strange do these expressions sound to men who bad no idea of a future atonement or Eucharist. “ I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread he shall live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” “This is a hard saying," murmured the disciples, 6 who can bear it ?"

The fact that the sacramental rite was not at first understood, teaches us some very important truths. We are apt to wonder at the sins of the disciples, and to think that if we had been in their stead we should neither have denied nor forsaken the Saviour. But they were altogether more ignorant of divine truth than we; almost wholly ignorant of the great, the principle doctrine; of course, they were less firmly shielded than we against temptation. The youngest child who is admitted to the sacramental board, is sometimes a profounder scholar in the fundamental doctrine of Christianity than Peter was, when he was first admitted. If, then, so much is given to us, how much must be required? And yet do not we forsake him whom we know to be a Redeemer ?

Again, we learn from the inability of the disciples to see the meaning of the Lord's Supper, what was his favorite mode of teaching He was wont to utter expressions which he knew that his hearers could not understand, and to let the mysterious sentiments work in their minds, perplex, confuse them, and thus prepare them for a sudden and joyful illumination when he should send the Comforter. The Comforter was to “bring all things to their remembrance," and when, he had done it, they would carry back their new knowledge to their former difficul

66

« PreviousContinue »