disciples as at the Passover; and if this is to be understood of the Supper, it again took place within three days. No, that Jesus opened to them the Scriptures, was the cause of joy to the two disciples.

In ii. 42, of the Acts of the Apostles, it is written, “ And they continued stedfastly in the Apostles' doctrine, and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Now if this verse stood alone there might be some ground to rest on, but five verses after:-“ They continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” It is therefore evident the people assembled to hear the Gospel. Breaking of bread, is applied by ministers of various denominations of the present day, to preaching the Gospel-dispensing the word-or breaking the bread of life to the people. (“ The young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.” Lam. iv. 4.) Chap. xx. 7. “ And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow, and continued his speech until midnight.” In the 11th verse is the same expression, “ Anå eaten,” added, which from the circumstance that had occurred, occasioning a break in Paul's discourse, he then refreshed himself by food, " and continued preaching until break of day.” A second perusal of the passage will amply satisfy that there is not even a decent solemnity in the manner it is expressed

for such a service. Verse 20, 21. “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house. Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” The last mention in the Acts of “ breaking bread,” which bears in words a much nearer resemblance to those of our Lord, than either of the others, is in the account of Paul's shipwreck. Chap. xxvii. 33–35, “And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried, and continued fasting, having taken nothing. Wherefore I pray you to take some meat; for this is for your health : for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all, and when he had broken it, he began to eat. Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.” There were two hundred and seventy-six souls on board, their deeds manifested they were not all believers; would Paul have administered the supper to such a company, at such a time, and in such a place? The most strenuous advocate for the supper, would say, certainly not! The daily acts of this spiritually minded man were done to the glory of God. As he said in another place, “ Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do

all to the glory of God.” The Apostles preached in many cities, and places, no mention of breaking bread, but in the three places as quoted; which bear no reference to the Supper, candidly considered. To proclaim the Gospel is the entire object.

In Acts xiii. mention is made of preaching on two Sabbaths, and the whole doctrine of the Gospel of Christ set forth in much wisdom-no Supper, or breaking of bread, or any forms, or ceremonies alluded to. See also xvi. 4, 5. In tle xviith 1–4, for three Sabbath days Paul preached in Thessalonica; but not the most distant allusion to the Supper-to proclaim the Gospel, or repentance unto life by believing in Jesus, he is alone devoted.

Four Apostles wrote to various churches and nations, they never mention the Supper; and the Chosen Vessel of the Gentiles, who wrote fourteen epistles to various churches and nations, mentions it only to one, and that one, the most idolatrous nation in existence; who easily fell into the error, because it suited with their idol of. ferings in the temple. They had wholly misunderstood the subject, which Paul endeavours to explain, 1 Cor. xi. From the seventeenth verse to the twenty-second is censure—twenty-third, he says, “For I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you;” not telling them to do any thing, but showing what the Lord had done for them. Then he begins " That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread : and wben he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner, also, he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood : this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” See John, vi. 5354, 26th verse. He again addresses them in his own words. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh danınation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.” Proving, that to receive the Lord Jesus, is an act of faith; then adds ; " For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home, that ye come not together unto condemnation.” They are “ not to turn to weak and beggarly elements” which produce bondage, sickness, and death_" Christ must be formed in thenı :"

then concludes the last verse with " And the rest will I set in order when I come.” The customs of a nation are difficult to abolish ; yet when he came, he would prove it was idolatrous, and to be done away. After reading this chapter carefully, no one can say, Paul has ordered the Corinthians to continue the Supa per; it must be admitted it was suspended until his presence. As no further mention is made of the subject, we are justified by this, and his subsequent mode of dealing with the other churches, to conclude it ceased with our Lord.

1 Cor. x. 15, &c. Although the words of “ Communion, &c.” at first sight may seem to bear upon the subject, yet Paul is only here proving union to Christ, and to preserve the Corinthians from idolatrous worship. He explains the sixteenth verse by the seventeenth ; that the people, or the church, are the one bread:"this is the communion, not the partaking of bread and wine as an ordinance. Nineteenth and twentieth verses he explains by the twenty-first; that if they will serve the devil under idol forms, they cannot receive Salvation, or serve the Lord, or be partakers at his table; or, in the Saviour's words Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” It is an act of faith to partake of the Altar, and eat of the sacrifice, which bread and wine are wholly inoperative to convey ; for “ Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you :"-this is the gift of God," known only to those who are “born again.”

« ForrigeFortsett »