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Observer, April 15, '76
YAYIN; OR THE BIBLE WINE
HE above is the title of a pamphlet which has attracted some amount of attention, and led to various notices of the subject by the press. The object of the Authors was, to suppress "minute" enquiry, and by the voice of authority, to command peace. The result of their labours is, to quicken investigation, and animate discussion. Thus it is, and ever was, the most vigorous promoter of moral freedom is spiritual tyranny, if it will only speak out, or act out, its true principles.
Perhaps the best idea of the purpose of the book, and the spirit which has caused its production, will be gathered from the opening lines of Professor Watts' speech, including the overture and four propositions laid before the Assembly addressed.
Mr. Moderator, on behalf of the Presbytery of Belfast, I beg leave to introduce to this venerable Assembly the following overture:
That, whereas differences of opinion exist among the members of our congregations, in regard to the kind of wine appointed by our Lord to be used in the celebration of His Supper; and whereas these differences of opinion have greatly disturbed the peace of our churches, and led, in some instances, to what many regard as grave departures from the teaching of Scripture, in the observance of this most sacred ordinance, this Presbytery earnestly asks the Assembly to issue a pastoral letter to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made them bishops, for their information and guidance, setting forth authoritatively the views of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland on this question." In conformity with the earnest request of this overture, I beg leave to move the following resolutions :
First-That the Assembly approve the overture, and declare that, as the wine used in the oblations under the Old Testament at the Passover, and by the Lord Himself in the institution of the Supper, was the ordinary wine of the country-that is, the fermented juice of the grape they cannot sanction the use of the unfermented juice of the grape as a symbol in the ordinance."
Second-That the Assembly direct sessions to deal in a spirit of Christian charity with brethren whose consciences are troubled; and, with this view, and because we should serve God with the purest which can be procured, recommend them to use a mild natural wine as most in accordance with the institution of this sacrament and the general practice of the church in all ages."
Third-"That the Assembly deprecate the agitation for the introduction of the unfermented juice of the grape; affectionately exhort all the members of the church to adhere to the simple and significant usage of Scripture; to avoid minute questions and divisive courses; to cherish brotherly kindness and forbearance, and to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; and when celebrating the dying of the Lord Jesus Christ, to lift their thoughts to the inestimable blesssings which have been purchased by His blood, and to seek that spiritual communion with Him, and that
YAYIN; or the Bible Wine Question: Testimony of Scripture, of the Rabbis, and of Bible lands, against recent sacramentarian innovations. By Professors WATTS, WALLACE, and MURPHY, of Belfast, and Rev. WILLIAM WRIGHT, B.A., of Damascus.
fellowship with one another, which may be enjoyed by all who worthily partake of the memorials of His sufferings."
Fourth-That a committee be appointed, in accordance with the request of the overture, to prepare a pastoral letter embodying these resolutions, as setting forth authoritatively the views of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland on this subject, and, if occasion require, to advise and assist the brethren in carrying them into effect."
The reader will very likely have anticipated the remark; that the above is a sectarian, or, at least, a priestly expedient, to meet a sectarian difficulty. It is the old story of suppression and intolerance-one of the Pope's patents, for extinguishing inquiry and curing conviction -the law of authority and might, to secure spiritual unity and consistency (?). The things complained of, are:-First-"A difference of opinion in regard to the kind of wine appointed by our Lord to be used in the celebration of His Supper." Second-"A consequent disturbance of the peace of the churches." Third"What many regard as grave departures from the teaching of Scripture."
One naturally expects, under the circumstances, to hear the august band of Professors cry, "To the law and to the testimony!" or to mark the flashing of the sword of the Spirit, to the words, "Thus saith the Lord," or, "The Holy Ghost witnesseth," and, perhaps we cannot altogether ignore a feeble attempt to practice such warfare, not without a commendable degree of ingenuity, had it been exercised in a higher cause. Such a course, however, is quite secondary and subservient to another, and more highly esteemed, as embodied in the following appeal (which only lacks the force of an emphatic "Therefore"), viz. :—“ This Presbytery earnestly asks the Assembly to issue a pastoral letter. setting forth AUTHORI
TATIVELY the views of the PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH in Ireland, on this question." Let the enemy rejoice that the English and Scotch branches of the same church are not arrayed against them. In the meantime, none but real, live Professors can ever expect to rise to such a sublime altitude, and bring down thunder and lightning on the heads of the devoted disturbers of the peace. If a slight digression may be indulged in, it would be interesting to enquire, when the Presbyterian Church in Ireland was empowered to speak "authoritatively" on such subjects; by what standard its "views" have been tested and established, and how the Holy Ghost makes bishops in the Presbyterian Church; but we must leave these for the question of the moment.
The resolutions already enumerated are in good keeping with the start made in the overture; and the whole inquiry, if it may be
dignified by that name, is conducted on the principle of making out a foregone conclusion.
The reader will readily divide the first resolution into its two natural elements, viz., an assumption and a declaration. Assumed-The
wine referred to was fermented wine. Declared -The ASSEMBLY CANNOT SANCTION the use of the unfermented juice of the grape. The decree has gone forth! Sentence of death has been passed on the unfermented juice of the grape, and that by an authority from which there is no appeal (?).
The second resolution is an admirable attempt to blend mercy with inflexible justice—to mingle compassion with an arbitrary will; but, as might be expected, they don't mix well. After refusing any quarter to the unfermented battalions, the Assembly is to direct sessions to deal in a spirit of Christian charity with weak consciences; i.e., the Assembly having once for all declared its refusal to sanction; the sessions must wrap up the pill in sugar and honey, and stroke the feathers the right way during the act of swallowing. Nevertheless, some compromise may be effected between the mean and insipid (though innocent) thing, cast out of the synagogue; and the sublime Port or glorious Champagne, claiming affinity with the palate of the august Assembly. No one can find much fault, either with the motives or reasons upon which this compromise is based, and there is such a soothing and consolatory zephyr-like influence in the recommendation to use a "mild natural wine," as almost to disarm criticism.
But let it not be forgotten, that mildness must have a limit, and the proof to which this wine must be kept up, is, that taken in sufficient quantity, it will make a man drunk. It must intoxicate-it must be capable of dethroning reason-of causing the tongue to utter vile things of exciting the lusts and passions! Says the resolution-" We ought to serve God with the purest." Says the Presbytery "Purity can only come from corruption and decay." It must be fermented, or in some way intoxicating. Dear Professors and precious Assembly, where are we to get this "mild natural wine?' Pray give us the name of your wine merchant; together with your own guarantee and penalties!
Our compassion cannot but be moved as we note in the third resolution, how deeply the Assembly is made to "deprecate the agitation (indeed, it is very agitating) for the introduction of the unfermented (uncorrupted) juice of the grape." It is all very well and very necessary for Christians to feed on the unadulterated (uncorrupted) milk of the Word .All right enough to sow and receive the incorruptible and uncorrupted Seed. But santification would become
Observer, April 15, '76.
quite out of all proportion with this corrupt age, if every thing was to proceed at the same rate. So let us have, by all means, as a prudential check, fermented (corrupted) wine at the Lord's table. Thus, let us keep to this "significant usage."
The members are further affectionately exhorted, to "avoid minute questions and divisive courses." Every man in his own order; minute questions are for the priestly order, and the lay order must be orderly recipients of clerical conclusions. Such has been a significant practice of the church in bygone ages. Why not now?
Furthermore, the exhortation continues-"to cherish brotherly kindness and forbearance" (always within the fermented limit and in view of the "cannot sanction" of the Assembly), and to "keep the unity of the spirit (one wine) in the bond of peace." It is from no spirit of levity, that the writer fills in, in brackets, what must inevitably be suggested to the mind of the candid reader; who will also naturally supply, after the words "worthily partake," the proper element in which to partake, by order of the Assembly.
The last two sentences in the fourth resolution, are very noteworthy, as being thoroughly characteristic of the spirit of the whole business, "If occasion require, to advise and assist in carrying them into effect." These are ominous words of warning, to all differers in opinion, and all minute enquirers, and as the committee will hardly be fully equipped without a war-song, perhaps worse might be done, than simply to alter slightly a well known one, for the purpose:
See the hosts of unfermented,
Many men around us faltering,
Hold the fort, for we are coming, Watts and brothers three,
Coming to uphold fermented liquors by decree.
See the barrels flow.
Hark! the bottles burst in triumph! Unfermented! woe!
Hold the fort, etc.
Gentle reader, say not these lines are spiced with too much severity. We are meeting Pro. Watts and Co. on their own ground, and, perhaps, confuting them by their own argument. If this book had been a more fair and legitimate inquiry into the meaning and spirit of God's word, as a whole, and less a stand-up fight with Dr. Lees and his friends, it would have deserved a different notice; but with a meaning and motive so manifest, it is almost enough to say that Pro. Watts displays throughout a determination, if possible, to overthrow his selfchosen antagonist, with whom he wrestles
Observer, April 15, 76.
cleverly and skilfully, but, after all, with a certain weakness that is not surprising, under the circumstances.
A sample or two of his logic may suffice for the present. To the statement that Yayin "signifies also the blood of the grape' freshly expressed," he replies, "Of what avail were it, even were it possible, to show that Yayin is sometimes used poetically (?) for grape juice freshly expressed? This would simply be to concede that where it is not used poeticallyand men do not use it poetically when they drink it it cannot be translated grape juice." If this is not begging a question we need a new definition for that term. Again, he deals with the following statement with at least equal discretion (!) The wine which Christ made did not ferment. There was not time for the process of fermentation to take place. The water was suddenly converted into wine; yet He called it wine." As this is in some sense a crucial statement, we can well imagine the professor summoning to his aid the powers of learning, philosophy, research, reason and logic to deal one stroke for life and victory," and with bated breath the Assembly must have waited for the sublime utterance-"This is a specimen of the literature on which Good Templars and Bible-must men are fed and sustained in this schismatic agitation!" The old masters of logic are nowhere! A little lower down on the same page we have the force and beauty of the English language illustrated in the words "An article fraught with such internecine, suicidal, hap-hazard assertions ;" and we think of people who "live in glass houses."
Pro. Watts closes his speech with an eloquent peroration, headed by the splendid words of the Apostle Paul-"God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world ;" and goes on to say, "I am persuaded with the Apostle that the sacrifice offered on Calvary, and that alone, can render the world impotent to fascinate, and can fortify the soul against the power of its enchantments. This the cross alone can do, and this it can do alone, and he who adds to it a temperance pledge does but evince a lack of confidence in its saving efficacy. That which is the power of God unto salvation needs not the aid of such adminicles." We are left wondering why there should be any use or place for such "adminicles" as special declarations and decrees of Assembly to put an end to "minute inquiries and the use of pure uncorrupted juice of the grape at the Presbyterian Table.
After the best and the worst have been said, Pro. Watts admits the ancient custom of press
ing the juice from the grape, and using it right offi.e., of drinking the unfermented juice or blood of the grape.
Professor Wallace's speech is marked by a somewhat different method-less critical, but quite as outspoken and direct. Perhaps the following is as fairly characteristic as any quotation we could give, viz. :-"The Apostle speaks of using the world as not abusing it. The use is temperance; the abuse is excess. It has never been God's way to seclude man from the possibility of meeting with temptation, not even in Paradise. The world is a temptation constantly besetting us. Our places and positions in it, our necessary pursuits, our food and raiment, every form of sensuous, intellectual and social enjoyment all are inevitably accompanied with temptation. Wine comes under the same category, and our Lord does not pray that His people be taken out of the world, and thereby secluded from its temptations, but that they may be kept from the evil. To meet temptation, and to overcome it, is the necessary discipline of the Christian. He must learn to use the world as not abusing it. Now, if there be a liquor in use as a beverage which is not pleasant to the taste, which has no exhilarating effect, which is possessed of no property which tempts to excess, and which requires in the use of it no control of moral principle to restrain excess, even though it be the juice of the grape, it is not the wine of Bible times-it is not Passover wine, it is not the wine of the Lord's Supper."
On the principle laid down, the stronger the intoxicating power of the wine, the stronger is the temptation to excess; and, therefore, the stronger the claim on the Church's sanction and approval. How it comes to pass that countenance can be given to the use of "mild" wine, is difficult to say, in view of duty to the Lord and the churches.
"Observe," says Pro. Wallace, "in what position the Church of Christ is placed, supposing the kind of wine to be of essential importance in the observance of this holy ordinance. Upon what testimony are we to depend that the wine is pure? Upon that of the manufacturer or merchant?" etc. Yet this is the very question the Assembly is asked to deal with by sanctioning only fermented wine. The whole is sufficiently one-sided to carry with it its own condemnation as a piece of Christian advocacy. It is quite clear and plain to an unprejudiced English reader of the English New Testament that our Lord's words at the institution of the Supper involves nothing beyond "THE FRUIT OF THE VINE." It is therefore the duty and privilege of all disciples to use, if possible, the
product of the vine. If it can be had fresh, and pure and simple, like pure and sparkling water at the fountain, that must be best. If it cannot be thus procured, no word should be raised against the nearest to this condition that can be realized. The greatest mistake that can be made is to meet one extreme with another, neither having unquestioned authority in the word of God for the form they are made to
After a speech by Professor Murphy, which does not shed much more light on the subject than is elicited by previous speakers, we note the presentation by the "Rev. William Wright"| of a statement, to which he refers in the following words, viz. :-"The statement is signed only by those missionaries and residents in Syria who are specially qualified to give an opinion on this subject, and who are all strictly men of temperance.'
Then comes the statement, signed by eleven gentlemen of good standing
"We, the undersigned, missionaries and residents in Syria, having been repeatedly requested to make a distinct statement on the subject, hereby declare that during the whole time of our residence and travelling in Syria and the Holy Land we have never seen or heard of unfermented wine, nor have we found among Jews, Christians or Mahommedans any tradition of such a wine having ever existed in the country."
If the history of past empires, together with details of their arts and progress in science, was dependent either on the traditions or present practices of the miserable degenerates who now exist on the same soil, literature in that line would be a very meagre thing to-day, instead of being, as it is, rich in ancient story. To show the worth of such testimony as the above, let us set against it the following extract from the Christian World of March 17th:-"We may observe that it has long been known to scholars that unfermented preparations of grape juice were in common use among the ancients. A large portion of Book xiv. of Pliny's Historia Naturalis' (A.D. 60) is occupied with descriptions of various methods by which the produce of the vineyard could be preserved free from fermentation. In the works of Plutarch, Columella, Cato and the Geoponic writers we also have careful descriptions of a method by which the freshly-expressed juice of grapes was by the Greeks and Romans preserved unaltered in its properties for any length of time. And it may be regarded as a curious illustration of what persistent experiment and long experience can do in overcoming difficulties, that, even examined by the light of modern science, some of
Observer, April 15, '76.
these ancient methods are found to be so perfect as to leave little to be desired."
There is another aspect of this question which the learned professors ignore altogether, and one the nobility of which might have claimed the condescension of a passing notice. There is also a spirit and tenor running through the Holy Oracles which is often a safer guide than the construction and common usage of a word, only that professors must do things professionally.
Common readers find a rich vein running through such passages as the following, viz., "Lead us not into temptation." "But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died." "It is good neither to eat flesh nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak." "We then that
are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." "If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no meat while the world standeth."
The blood of the grape, or "fruit of the vine," rich, fresh, and innocent, is the most suitable symbol of that "innocent blood," which was shed on Calvary for the remission of sins-the best representation of " that rich atoning blood" which is the seal of the New Covenant. If it cannot be had as rich and fresh as we could like; let us not quarrel over the best we can get, but replace it with purer and better so soon as we can.
OUTSIDE AND IN.
GOD looks at the heart. Man looks at the life. God would control the life by first regulating the heart; He makes the fruit good by first making the tree good; makes the stream pure by first purifying the fountain. God commands us in the first place, and as of first importance to give up our hearts, without which in His sight our lives are valueless. Hence, the first and great commandment is: thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. Whoever, therefore, proposes to serve Him, should see that this first and most important work is well accomplished. Then he may render a life service well pleasing in His sight.
Some, seeing the importance of this initial work, have unwisely concluded that God requires nothing else. When the phrase, "the heart is right," comes to be interpreted, it is made to signify that the heart is right in our own eyes. It means that a man is satisfied with himself. This, any one, Catholic or Protestant, Mahommedan or Mormon, Deist, Atheist or Idolator, may be.
Observer, April 15, '76.
A man may have a heart right in his own eyes, or a conscience void of offence, as tested by the fickle and false standard of his own feelings, and still be as far from God as the veriest worshipper of Baal ever was. But I care not to pursue the subject, but to press the truth, that in order to please God we must receive the Saviour into our heart. There He must have no rival. He must be enthroned. His mind must be our mind; His will our will. We must follow Him, if need be, in humiliation, suffering, and death, knowing that if we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him, that if we deny Him, He will deny us. The Lord says: "If any one will be My disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me." This is no partial work. Self gone, and Christ all in all. The soul that has looked at the crown and then at the abasement and sufferings between it and the recompense of reward, and has chosen to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, has started right. Such a one gives the church no trouble; never makes nice calculations to determine how little he may do and yet escape final condemnation.
This self-denial, as a condition of discipleship in the school of Christ, is "to all ungodliness and worldly lusts;" requiring that we live soberly, righteously and Godly in this present evil world. How simple, how like that of a child, is the government of a heart full of resolve, that it will, at all times, under all circumstances, and at whatever sacrifice, do the will of Him who came into the world to save sinners!
The outside force has so affected the nominal church, that it is with difficulty we distinguish between those who do and those who do not belong to the Lord's side.
Let us look more at the heart and less at the outside, and we will please God better and care less for the esteem of men. W.
THE FAITH WHICH IS UNTO
To the Editor of the E. 0.-FOUR definitions of faith include the chief opinions on this subject 1. Belief that we are saved. 2. Belief of God's testimony respecting the way of salvation. Trust in God for salvation, apart from any expression of trust by obedience. 4. Trust in God for salvation, expressed by loving obedience.
1. Belief that we are saved. Some say that this belief should rest on proof that we are renewed by the Holy Spirit: that those who believe that they have been so renewed have
the faith which is unto salvation. that this belief that we are saved should rest on the ground that Christ has made a gift or grant of eternal life to all sinners, and therefore to us; and that if we believe this, we have the faith which has the promise of salvation. Both classes make belief that we are saved, to be the faith which inherits salvation; but the one makes this belief rest on regeneration; the other, upon salvation given to all by Christ.
ANDREW FULLER mentioned both these classes in "The Gospel worthy of all Acceptation." He said of the first class: "Some have maintained that faith in Christ consists in a persuasion of our interest in Christ, and in all the benefits and blessings of His mediation." "If this be saving faith, it must inevitably follow that it is not the duty of unconverted sinners; for they are not interested in Christ, and it cannot possibly be their duty to believe a lie." Works, Vol II., pp. 8, 9. The result of this error has been to prevent ministers of the Gospel from urging sinners to exercise faith; for, as Mr. Fuller says, they cannot urge them to believe that they are converted, when they are not, without urging them to believe a lie.
He thus refers to persons of the second class: "Mr. Anderson, an American writer, has lately published a pamphlet on the Scripture Doctrine of the Appropriation which is in the Nature of Saving Faith. The scheme which he attempts to defend is that of Hervey, Marshall, etc., or that which in Scotland is known by the name of the Marrow doctrine. These divines write much about the Gospel containing a gift or grant of Christ and spiritual blessings to sinners of mankind; and [say] that it is the office of faith so to receive the gift as to claim it as our own. But the Gospel contains no gift or grant to mankind in general, beyond that of an offer or freeinvitation; and thus, indeed, Mr. Boston, in his notes on the Marrow of Modern Divinity,' seems to explain it. Vol. II., p. 12.
ROBERT SANDEMAN strongly opposed this view in his reply to Mr. James Hervey, entitled "Letters on Theron and Aspasio," second edition, 1759. He traces the same sentiment in the Night Thoughts" of Hervey's favourite poet, Young; in the writings of Mr. Boston, in those of Ralph and Ebenezer Erskine, and of others (pp. 11-13, 298, 299).
Dr. JOSEPH BELLAMY, of New England, in his "Letters and Dialogues between Theron, Paulinus, and Aspasio" (A.D. 1759), ably opposed this view of faith. He speaks of it as "the very first-born of delusions" (p. 51); and as one which involves the grossest contradictions. At p. 70, in a note, he says, "The whole party maintain, with Wendelinus, that in the first