Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

clear he never understood from those who were, either that they were spoken, or that they bore this meaning, or he would have inserted them in his Gospel.

Nor is any mention made of such words by St. John. This was the beloved disciple who was more intimate with Jesus, and who knew more of the mind of his master, than any of the others. This was he who leaned upon his bosom at the passover-supper, and who must have been so near him as to have heard all that passed there. And yet this disciple did not think it worth his while, except manuscripts have been mutilated, to mention even the bread and wine that were used this occasion.

upon

Neither does St. Luke, who mentions the words "do this in remembrance of me," establish any thing, in the opinion of the Quakers, material on this point. For it appears from him that Jesus, to make the most of his words, only spiritualized the old passover for his disciples, all of whom were Jews, but that he gave no command with respect to the observance of it by others. Neither does St. Luke himself enjoin or call upon others to observe it.

St. Paul speaks nearly the same language as St. Luke, but with this difference, that the supper, as

[blocks in formation]

thus spiritualized by Jesus, was to last but for a time.

Now the Quakers are of opinion, that they have not sufficient ground to believe from these authorities, that Jesus intended to establish any ceremonial as an universal ordinance for the Christian church. For if the custom enjoined was the spiritualized passover, it was better calculated for Jews than for Gentiles, who were neither interested in the motives nor acquainted with the customs of that feast. But it is of little importance, they contend, whether it was the spiritualized passover or not; for if Jesus Christ had intended it, whatever it was, as an essential of his new religion, he would have commanded his disciples to enjoin it as a Christian duty, and the disciples themselves would have handed it down to their se veral converts in the same light. But no injunction to this effect, either of Jesus to others, or of themselves to others, is to be found in any of their writings. Add to this, that the limitation of its duration for a time, seems a sufficient argument against it as a Christian ordinance, because whatever is once, must be for ever, an essential in the Christian church.

The Quakers believe, as a farther argument in their favour, that there is reason to presume that

St. Paul never looked upon the spiritualized passover as any permanent and essential rite, which Christians were enjoined to follow. For nothing can be more clear than that, when speaking of the guilt and hazard of judging one another by meats and drinks, he states it as a general and fundamental doctrine of Christianity, that " "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."

It seems also by the mode of reasoning which the Apostle adopts in his epistle to the Corinthians on this subject, that he had no other idea of the observance of this rite, than he had of the observance of particular days, namely, that if men thought they were bound in conscience to keep them, they ought to keep them religiously. "He that re

gardeth a day, says the Apostle, regardeth it to the Lord." That is, " as he that esteemed a day, says Barclay, and placed conscience in keeping it, was to regard it to the Lord, (and so it was to him, in so far as he regarded it to the Lord, the Lord's day,) he was to do it worthily: and if he were to do it unworthily, he would be guilty of the Lord's day, and so keep it to his own condemnation." Just in the same manner St. Paul tells the Corinthian Jews, that if they observed the ce

n Romans 14. 17.

remonial of the passover, or rather, " as often as they observed it," they were to observe it worthily, and make it a religious act. They were not then come together to make merry on the anniversary of the deliverance of their ancestors from Egyptian bondage, but to meet in memorial of Christ's sufferings and death. And therefore, if they ate and drank the passover, under its new and high allusions, unworthily, they profaned the ceremony, and were guilty of the body and blood of Christ.

It appears also from the Syriac, and other oriental versions of the New Testament, such as the Arabic and Ethiopic, as if he only permitted the celebration of the spiritualized passover for a time in condescension to the weakness of some of his converts, who were probably from the Jewish synagogue at Corinth. For in the seventeenth verse of the eleventh chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, the Syriac runs thus: "As to that, concerning which I am now instructing you, I commend you not, because you have not gone forward, but you have gone down into matters of

o The Syriac is a very ancient version, and as respectable or of as high authority as any. Leusden and Schaaf translate the Syriac thus: "Hoc autem, quod præcipio, non tanquam laudo vos, quia non progressi estis, sed ad id, quod minus est, descendistis." Compare this with the English

edition.

less importance." "It appears from hence, says Barclay, that the Apostle was grieved, that such was their condition that he was forced to give them instruction concerning these outward things, and doting upon which they showed that they were not gone forward in the life of Christianity, but rather sticking in the beggarly elements; and therefore the twentieth verse of the same version has it thus: P When then ye meet together, ye do not do it as it is just ye should in the day of the Lord; ye eat and drink.' Therefore showing to them, that to meet together to eat and drink outward bread and wine, was not the labour and work of that day of the Lord."

Upon the whole, in whatever light the Quakers view the subject before us, they cannot persuade themselves that Jesus Christ intended to establish any new ceremonial, distinct from the passoversupper, or which should render null and void, (as it would be the tendency of all ceremonials to do) the supper which he had before commanded at Capernaum. The only supper which he ever enjoined to Christians, was the latter. This spiritual supper was to be eternal and universal. For he was always to be present with those "who would

p Quum igitur congregamini, non sicut justum est die domini nostri, comeditis et bibites.

Leusden et Schaaf lusduni batavorum.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »