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table of the Lord." "Just so far as the symbols in question recall and impress divine truth, so far they may have a sanctifying influence. To look for such influence beyond this, is not rational expectation, founded on the Scriptures and on the nature of the Christian religion, but superstition and groundless mystical conjecture."

Why should any man talk as Calvin does,” exclaims Dr. Dick, " of some inexplicable communion in this ordinance with the human nature of Christ; and tell us that, although it seems impossible, on account of the distance to which he is removed from us, we are not to measure the power of the Divine Spirit by our standard ? I am sure that the person who speaks so, conveys no idea into the minds of those whom he addresses; and I am equally certain, that he does not understand himself." .The ordinance is misunderstood, when it gives rise to carnal meditations; and is then only observed aright, when our minds are employed in the spiritual contemplation of his atonement, and its effects. When our church, therefore, says that the body and blood are as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses,' (Westm. Conf. ch. xxix. §. 7); and that they feed upon his body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace,' (Larger Cat. Q. 168); it can mean only, that our incarnate suffering Saviour is apprehended by their minds, through the instituted signs, and that by faith they enjoy peace and hope: or it means something unintelligible and unscriptural. Plain, literal language is best, especially on spiritual subjects, and should have been employed by Protestant churches with the utmost care, as the figurative terms of Scripture have been so grossly mistaken.” 6. The doctrine of his presence I would not found, as others do, upon the words of institution, which, when justly interpreted, merely import that the elements are signs of his body and blood. Now, a sign is very far from implying that the thing signified is present. It is rather understood to represent an absent object, and is put in its place to remind us of it because it is removed to a distance from us. Instead of being a fair conclusion from the words of institution, that there is a peculiar, mysterious presence of our Saviour, which can be accounted for only by the miraculous power of the Spirit, it might rather be inferred that he is not present at all, and that the design of the symbols is to call him to remembrance in his absence. The doctrine of his presence in the sacred supper, is legitimately deduced from his general promise, which relates to all his ordinances without any special respect to the supper: 'Where two or three,


Article on the Lord's sapper by Moses Stuart, in the Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 1. p. 274, 276.

&c.' Matth. xviii. 20. It is this promise which gives us ground to consider him as present in the eucharist, in baptism, in prayer, in the preaching of the gospel. In all these ordinances he is present; and he present in the same manner in them all, namely, by his Spirit, who renders them effectual means of salvation.”

These quotations will be acknowledged generally, no doubt, to be a fair representation of the Puritan doctrine of the Lord's supper, in its present reigning form. And can there be any question, we ask, whether it varies materially or not from the original doctrine of the Reformed church? Does it not flatly deny what that doctrine always took pains to affirm ; the mystical force of the sacrament; its objective efficacy; the union of sign and thing signified in its constitution; its relation to the life of Christ as the basis of his atonement; the presence in it especially of the life-giving virtue of his flesh and blood, or true human nature, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as the proper food of the soul? The difference between the two forms of belief is palpable and wide. No honest interpretation can pretend to explain it away. It is just as palpably too of the most serious significance and account.

Here is a fact then, which all should be willing openly to see and allow. Be its claims what they may to consideration and regard, on other grounds, this Puritan doctrine is a departure from the sacramental faith of the Reformed church as it stood in the beginning. This should be acknowledged, without reserve or qualification, on all sides.

Dr. Hodge himself owns as much, in the case at least of Calvin and a part of the church besides; and lays his finger very fairly, at the same time, on the point where the two systems first fall asunder. Two views of the Lord's supper, he tells us, for a time struggled together in the bosom of the old doctrine; one referring the sense of the institution wholly to Christ's death, as something past; the other referring it to his life also, as something present. The latter however he represents to have been from the first a foreign element, in conflict with the true genius of Protestantism, and especially with the article of justification by faith, which in due time, accordingly, fell out of the system altogether. As we have now seen however, it was not only one phase of the Reformed doctrine in the beginning that bore this peculiar aspect, but the doctrine in its general character. Participation in the life of Christ was insisted upon by the Reform

* Lectures on Theology. by the late Rev. John Dick. D. D., Lect. XCII.

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ed confession, no less than by the Lutheran, as an essential constituent of the sacramental mystery. Not of course to the exclusion of the other interest ; but in reality for its preservation. For the two ideas are by no means of heterogeneous nature. On the contrary they mutually support and require one another. The sacrifice of Christ is of perennial force, only through the undying presence of his life; and how should there be a real, and not simply imaginary, fruition of the first, then, without a real communication at the same time with the last? Such was the sense undoubtedly of the old sacramental doctrine. It sought to hold together here the objective and subjective sides of the christian salvation. No mere exercises of man were felt to be enough, in the case; the living power of the new creation, as a higher order of existence in Christ, must come in perpetually to uphold the process. In the holy supper especially, as the central solemnity of the christian worship, this side of our salvation could not be allowed to fail; for must it not in that view be shorn of its mystical character altogether, and so cease to be a sacrament at all in any special sense? Hence it was held, that the power of Christ's life, the virtue and vigor in particular of his flesh and blood, that is, of his true human nature, are objectively at hand in the transaction, by the agency of the Holy Ghost, for our spiritual nourishment and growth in grace. From all this, the modern Puritan doctrine has fallen away. The ensire interest of communion with Christ's human life, it deliberately rejects as an antiquated superstition. It will hear only of communion with his death ; by which it means, not the abiding force of this as a real quality or property of the still living Saviour, but the thought or memory of it only as something past and gone. The bond thus between sign and thing signified is completely severed. The“ invisible grace" evaporates into thin air. The objective power of the institution is overthrown. Its mystical character fails entirely. Here, of a truth, is a most material change. Dr. Hodge considers it an improvement, and styles it a "process of growth." To our mind, we confess, it carries a very different aspect. The fact however, in any view, is not to be called in question. The modern doctrine and the old doctrine are not the same; and the difference between them is by no means either casual or small. It reaches to the very constitution of the sacrament itself.

We enter into no discussion here of the merits of this change, in a theological view Our object has been simply, to exhibit its true character as a fact of history. It may be proper hower. er, in bringing the subject to a close to submit the following general reflections for the serious consideration of the thoughtful.

In the first place, the Puritan theory now before us turns Lutheranism into a theological nullity. The side of the original Reformed doctrine which it rejects as a foreign element, incongruous with the true genius of Protestantism, and at war with the article of justification by faith, lies towards the Lutheran confession, and forms the bond of common interest and common life with it, in the great movement of the Reformation. To give it up then is not merely to fall away from the primitive constitution of the Reformed doctrine, but also at the same time to break in full with the inward life of the other communion.' To charge it with folly, is to bring an a fortiori charge of the same sort against Luther himself, and the whole church of the Aug3. burg Confession. For it will not be denied surely, that for this section of Protestantism at least, the idea of communion with Christ's human life was of primary and necessary significance. And yet it is here precisely, that we find all stress also laid on the article of justification by faith, as the very pillar of all true christianity! "How is this? Must it be set to the account of Luther's headstrong bumor merely, that he could never be brought to feel the innate contradiction of the two ideas thus forced together in his system; or that he would never allow himself to see in the old catholic notion of sacramental grace, an element foreign to the whole sense of Protestantism, the very worm that must in the end eat out the core of his great article of justification itself, if not ejected by a "process of growth” clear off to the other side? And was it only blind reverence for his authority, that bound the giant theology of the Lutheran communion to the saine grand solecism, after his death? So Puritanisin would seem in its heart to believe; for it makes no account whatever of the original confessional position of Lutheranism over against the Reformed tendency; but makes this, under a view that sunders it out and out from the opposite interest, to be at once the whole and only proper meaning of Protestantism. Now where all sense for history is gone, and the merest subjectivity is taken for the last measure of truth, this style of theological thinking may pass as quite satisfactory; but surely not a particle farther. To nullify the entire question ou which the two confessions originally split; to set the actual and whole truth of Protestantism clear off from it, on the side of the Reformed tendency, and in no contact with it whatever; is of course to nullify Lutheranism at the same time, to turn its distinctive constitution into absurdity, to make its theology worthless, and in this way to stultify along with it a vast part of the universal movement of the Reformation, to which it belonged and in which it may be said in some sense to have led the way. Is a theology to be trusted, we ask, which has lost the power even of taking any interest in the first deepest confessional issue of Protestantism, and whose fancied superiority to this issue stands not in any scientific mastery of it whatever, but in the cool and quiet affectation werely of having thrust the whole question aside at last as an exploded superstition? For our part, we think not. We are not Lutheran; but truly we see not, how the life of the Reformation can be honestly respected, where all sympathy with Lutheranism is wanting, and its vast creations in theology regarded with indifference or contempt. We feel morally sure on the contrary, that if the Reformation came from God, no such absolute and total rupture between the two original confessions embraced in its constitution can ever be rational or sale. The perfection of the Reformed tendency lies not in its full divorce from the contrary interest; but in ihe constant recognition rather of its rightful claims, and in such a triumph sinally as may be at the same time the triumph also of this interest itself, by the fair and true mastery of the grand theological problem, whose settlement they are bound to seek from opposite sides. It is no healthy symptom then, where the Reformed principle is found to have broken away completely from the auihority of the Lutheran, and affects io be separately, with the full exclusion and negation of this last, the whole truth of Protestant Christianity. So in the case immediately before nis, a theory of the sacraments which refuses every sort of correspondence with the Lutheran doctrine, making its whole substance a

'It is greatly to be regretted, that the distinctive life of the Lutheran confession has been so extensively lost in this country on the part of the Lutheran church itself. Old Lutheranism, as it is called, is indeed behind the age, and can never meet its wants. Its stiff pedantry serves only to make it ridiculous. But this by no means implies, that the general substance of Lutheranism itself, as it stood in the beginning, should be set aside. This, as we take it, has a right to make itself permanently felt in the history of Protestantism; and where that ceases to be the case, the whole interest of Protestantism must suffer. It is a calamity then that Lutheranism in America, has in its most active character thus far appeared quite out of rank and place ; falling short even of the true line of the Reformed confession, on the opposite side; having only a nominal distinction, without any sep. arate character really answerable to its own name. Of all monstrosities in theology, it would be hard to name one more absurd than the figment of a purely “ American Lutheranism," under no bond to the past historical identity of this confession, and free to be anything and everything at its own good pleasure,

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