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the Lord's Supper has a tendency to convert the unconverted, or that it has been effectual in any instances to this end, is deftitute of proof. I will not deny that the representations usually made at the Lord's table of the love of Christ, of the evil of the fin, &c. may have a tendency, and may have been effectual, to excite serious convictions in the minds of the ungodly, which have ended in a true convertion to God; but it does not appear that the aet of receiving the facramental bread and wine has ever been, or is likely to be, of real use in this view ; it is easy to conceive that the same end might as well be answered by a bare attendance while the ordinance is administered, without an actual participation of it. Befides, let it be further observed, that if there be any thing in this argument for unconverted persons to attend the Lord's Supper, it will be equally conclusive with regard to sinners of all characters, even the most abandoned and profane, who have at least equal need with others to attend every probable means of reformation. But it is on all fides agreed that such ought not to approach the table of the Lord ; the argument therefore, by prov." 'ing too much, proves nothing at all.
I am, Rey, SIR,
IN proving that unholy persons have no right to
| the Lord's Supper and ought not to attend upon it, I have hitherto only argued from Reafon upon the nature of the ordinance, and the profession implied in the celebration of it. I now proceed to the further vindication of the point by arguments drawn from Scripture.
I do not here pretend to produce any passage in which it is expressly asserted that none but real Chriftians ought to approach the Lord's table': I acknowledge there is not one such in the whole New Teftament. But it does not follow from hence that the doctrine is unscriptural. * It is sufficient to support it, if it can be made to appear that the scripture furnishes us with such general directions, prohibitions or reproofs as may warrantably be applied, thro' a similarity of circumstances, to this particular cafe ; or if it may be deduced, by just inference, from any thing therein expressly asserted. That we have ample evidence of this kind in scripture with respect to the present question, is to me indisputably clear.
The first argument I shall produce is this : The scripture not only requires uprightness in every religious service, and condemns all external performances, without it, as vain ; but also forbids all false professions and hypocritical pretences, and represents them as displeasing to God and as aggravations of a person's guilt. All lying and falsehood of every · kind, is strictly forbidden and severely threatened, whatever the pretençes for it may be. Now since
actions have as expressive a language as words, and . either truth or falsehood may be declared thereby
with equal strength, since the action of receiving the Lord's Supper (according to your own account of it) " is a declaration of a man's resolution, by the “ grace of God, to live and die like a Christian," and since (as I have already proved) none but good men do or can thus refolve; it follows, chat mere nominal Christians; by engaging in this action,' are guilty of folemnly declaring a falsehood, so that they are virtually forbidden to engage in this action, till by a change in them, the language of it shall be the truth.
But further; the scripture particularly reproves those that make a profession of Religion while they are destitute of the power of it, and represents such a profession as criminal and dangerous. By a profefion of religion, I would not here be understood to mean, an attendance on public worship in general, much less a decent external carriage, both of which are commendable even where there is nothing more; but such a profession as amounts to a solemn declaration of a man's being truly religious. Such an one I take the telebration of the Lord's Supper to be, and nothing less than this is implied in your account of it, just now referred to. Now the making such a solemn declaration as I have before shown is made in this inftitution, of subjection to the authority of Christ, of entering into covenant with God thro' him, of a re
Jation to his church, and of a resolution, by divine grace, to walk as becomes a member of it, while the heart really means no such thing, and the soul is averse to the purity of the gospel; seems to me strongly condemned and strictly forbidden by such paffages as the following: When ye come to ap.
pear before me, who hath required this at your hand "to tread my courts ? Bring no more vain oblations ;
incense is an abomination unto me'; the new moon's
and fabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot ' away with, it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. - Your new moons and your appointed feasts my foul
hateth, they are a trouble unto me. I am weary to 'bear them. * Unto the wicked God saith, What haft thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldst take my covenant into thy mouth ? seeing
thou hatest instruction and castest my words behind . thee.'+ To the same purpose are some passages in the New Testament, particularly that parable of our Lord concerning the Wedding Supper, I which I the rather quote at large, as you have excepted against it as foreign to the purpose. "The kingdom of hea« ven is like unto a certain king which made a marCriage for his son, and the wedding was furnish
< with guests. And when the king came in to see - the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a
wedding-garment, and he faith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in bither, not having a wedding garment ? and he was speechless. Then said the
king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and "take him away and cast him into outer darknefs ; " there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The manner in which you speak of this parable, carries in it an insinuation, that those who apply it to the case of the Lord's Supper, do it without sufficient warrant, and upon a mistaken view of the ordinance. $ “ They [communicants having conceived of it as a
" solemn ** Ifa. i. 12–14. + Pfal. L. 16, 17. Matt. xxii. $ p.41.
um hand and fund
" there away and caft
66 folemn thing to come to the Lord's table] would ó also apply the parable of our Saviour concerning « the wedding supper, and consider the person who 66 had not on the wedding-garment as representing “ an unworthy communicant." And pray where is the absurdity of this ? Do you say our Saviour, by the wedding supper, did not intend the Lord's Supper? It is granted he did not. I know of none, and you can hardly suppose any, weak enough to think that he did. You might as well imagine that I suppofe this ordinance to be referred to in the scriptures quoted above from the Old Testament. But because the Lord's Supper is not particularly intended in any of these passages, shall it be said, they ought not to ·be applied to it? With as much reason might you except against applying them to any religious duty at all, because no one is immediately referred to. They relate to a religious profession in general, and therefore are justly applicable to any particular part of it, that. implies a declaration of a man's piery ; more especially to the most folemn and express part of it, which you acknowledge the Lord's Supper to be. The man in the parable without the wedding-garment, well represents the case of those in general, who make a.publick and folemn profession of Christianity, but are destitute of the inward power of it, or of the genuine per of Christians, which character is exactly the same with that of an unworthy communicant, to whom, with every insincere professor, may that part of the parable also be applied, which represents the king's displeasure against the bold intruder, • How
cameft thou in hither, not having on a wedding gar. cment ? Take him, bind him hand and foot,' &c. It :will doubtless be? miore intolerable in the day of
judgment for such as have added lying and hypocrisy to all their other fins, than for those who in other respects are equally guilty, but have made no such profession. I will only add one passage more under . • E2