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of its introduction, the Christian church had not yet been divided into different sects on the ground of doctrinal diversity. And it is obvious, that baptism made its subject a member of the particular church of that town or place, in which he was baptized; and that subsequently his membership in any particular church was decided by his habitual attendance and worship with it. Children were always numbered with that church in which their parents, sponsors, or those with whom they lived, worshipped. Yet confirmation may very aptly now be regarded as implying the preference of its subject for the particular denomination in which he receives it; although on the strict principles of scriptural church government, his actual membership in any church, must be decided by the same circumstances now as in the days of the apostles.


OF THE LORD's supper.

In regard to the Lord's Supper they teach, that the body and blood of Christ are actually present under the emblems of bread and wine; and are dispensed to the communicants.

The ordinance to which this article refers, is confessedly the most solemn and impressive appointed by the Saviour in his visible church on earth. It was designed as a memorial of his dying love, and in whatever light we view it, it is adapted with

infinite wisdom to its intended end. Is Christianity a religion, whose truth and cardinal features require our belief of the fundamental facts of the Saviour's history? this ordinance, of such frequent recurrence, is wisely adapted to confer incessant prominence on the most important of them, his atoning death for the sins of men. Is Christianity a religion requiring the affections of the heart, as well as the assent of the understanding? What ordinance could be better adapted to call forth the tenderest feelings of the soul than that, which in language of the deepest solemnity, and by emblems familiar to all of every rank and nation, and amid circumstances of melancholy, midnight gloom, exhibits the suffering Saviour as it were to our eyes? In all churches of commendable spirituality, the celebration of this ordinance is accompanied by peculiar practical exercises. These consist in one or more preparatory services on the previous day; and if convenient, a neighbouring brother is invited to assist the stated pastor. It is a season of deep heart-searching, of self-abasement, of penitence and renewed dedication of the soul to God; and we may well ask, what Christian has sincerely and devoutly waited on the Lord in this ordinance, and not found his strength renewed; has not realized the truth of the Saviour's promise, "my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed ?"


By which this ordinance is designated, are various. It is termed the Lord's Supper,2 The Lord's Table,3 Communion,1 Eucharist, Sacrament of the Altar, &c.


Of this ordinance is admitted to be divine by all Christians. It

1 John 6: 55.


κυριακον δειπνον. 1 Cor. 11: 20.

3 10:21.

4 10: 16. 17.

took place in that solemn night, in which the Saviour was betrayed, during the paschal supper.1


It may not be amiss for the reader to know, that in regard to this ordinance as well as baptism, there existed customs among the ancients calculated to throw some light upon it. Many of the ancient nations accompanied their sacrifices with feasts in honour of their gods. Moses and Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders, went up and saw the God of Israel, and " did eat and drink." Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and did eat bread with his brethren. 3 It was prescribed in the Levitical service, that the flesh of the sacrifices should be eaten under certain restrictions. But the principal feast of this kind was that of the paschal supper, instituted by God at once to commemorate the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian bondage and from the destroying angel, and to prefigure the atoning death of the Messiah. A religious feast therefore in commemoration of some important event, was nothing new to the disciples, and they could find no difficulty in understanding the import of that now instituted by their Master.

The obligation to celebrate this ordinance is inculcated by the express words of the institution: do this in remembrance of


The Society of Friends, who in regard to their moral deportment are truly exemplary, at present alone deny the obligation of Christians to observe this rite, regarding it as designed by the

1 Matth. 26: 26. And as they were eating Jesus took bread and blessed it and break it, and gave it to the disciples and said, take, eat, this is my body: (Luke and Paul add) which is given (broken) for you; this do in remembrance of me. And he took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

2 Exod. 24: 11.

3 Gen. 31: 54.

4 Exod. 12.


Saviour merely to inculcate the necessity of spiritual union with him. That they err, is evident from the specific nature of the command, "do this in remembrance of me," from the direction of Paul thus to "show forth his death till he ," from the fact that these same disciples did habitually observe this rite, that the whole Christian church did in the apostolic age, and subsequently, and still does, with the exception of the society here referred to, which took its rise in England, about the middle of the 17th century, and a few others.2



1. The external elements, to be used in this ordinance, are bread and wine. Our Saviour doubtless used unleavened bread, for no other was permitted to be in a Jewish family during the passover. But the disciples evidently afterwards used the leavened bread, which had been provided for the ordinary purposes of life. The kind of bread is therefore immaterial to the validity of the ordinance; as also is its form, and the circumstance of its having been broken or not. It is uncertain what kind of wine was used by the Saviour, and therefore any species would answer the purpose. The Abyssinian Christians, who had no wine, used their liquor nearest resembling it, termed hydromel. It is however absolutely necessary that the wine be given to every communicant as well as the bread;

a) Because the Saviour gave both. b) All the members of the Corinthian church received both. c) It was the uni

form custom of the whole Christian church during the first ten centuries. d) Paul says we have all been made to drink into one Spirit.4

11 Cor. 11: 26.

2 The Paulicians, some Socinians and fanatics also dispute it.

31 Cor. 11: 26. 10: 21.

41 Cor. 12: 13, comp. 11: 26.

2. These elements must be consecrated by prayer: because it was done by our Saviour, and seems to be a necessary part of a religious rite. The consecration may be performed by the repetition of the words of the institution, as was done by the Latin churches, or by a special prayer, imploring the Spirit of God to sanctify the elements, for the intended use, as is done by Greek Christians. In the Lutheran church either method is deemed valid, and both are oftentimes combined. The persons who may officiate at the administration of this ordinance are the authorized ministers of Christ, who act in the stead of their divine Master.

3. The a) cardinal design of the ordinance is doubtless mnemonic or commemorative. It is to be performed in "remembrance of" the Saviour, and to shew forth his death until he come. By this ordinance Christians are not only to be reminded of the Saviour in general, but particularly of his ignominious death upon the cross, as an atonement for the sins of the world, and of the gracious plan of salvation based on his death. b) The participation of this ordinance, is also a public | profession of faith in Jesus Christ. c) Another object of this ordinance is, to promote unity and brotherly love among Christians. This is expressly taught by Paul, who also censures the abuses of the Corinthian church, which violated this design.3

4. The practical influence of this ordinance on the Christian, is indeed incalculable. By it his views of the great plan of salvation through the merits of a crucified Saviour are kept fundamentally correct. So long as he retains this belief, he cannot sanction the opinions of those, who regard the Saviour's

1 1 Cor. 11: 26.

21 Cor. 10: 17. We, being many, are one bread and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

3 1 Cor. 11: 20—22.

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