Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

consonant with the general design of his history, whjeh was written in aid of the other Evangelists, to supply such doctrines as he judged might be most usesully added, and at the fame time, to correct the misrepresentations of some already received."

The learned Bishop proceeds to answer other objections in a manner equally able. He concludes a most convincing discourse, with faying, " If we are justified in interpreting the words of this chapter, " He "that eateth my flesh and drinketh my "blood dwelleth in me and I in him," directly of this Sacrament, this passage will have an important influence on forming our opinion respecting the peculiar benefits arising from this institution, and we have only to inquire into the meaning of the words, " dwelleth in "me and I in him," to determine what these benefits precisely are.

"To dwell in Christ, therefore, is to live according to his commandments; to have Christ dwelling in us, is to enjoy the influence of his Holy Spirit.

"Thus

"Thus St. John: " Hereby we know ft that he abideth in us by the Spirit that "he hath given us: again, hereby know "we that we dwell in him, and he in us, "because he hath given us of his Spirit."

"If then we rightly interpret the text, the assistances of the Spirit are directly annexed to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. But the fanctification of the Spirit supposes Redemption and Pardon; which, therefore, might else from this chapter be proved a benefit conse- * quent upon this ordinance. But as these truths may be more obviously and simply deduced from the words of the institution, and from the nature of the rite itself, I (hall not insist at large upon the argument, but content myself with having shewn, in opposition to those who have interpreted the eating and drinking Christ's body and blood to be no more than keeping his commandments, that it alluded to something more analogous to the literal sense of the words; in opposition to. those who interpret it only of the thing signified in the Sacrament

ment of the Lord's Supper, that it includes the signs also; without which the notion of spiritual manducation is unfounded, and the passage, both to Jew and Christian, inexplicable: in opposition to those who confider the Lord's Supper simply as a remembrance of his death, that it is a commemoration of the facrifice for sin made by his death, and a symbolical feast upon a sacrifice.; and is therefore a pledge and means of communicating to us all the benefits of that facrifice."

Such is the opinion of this excellent writer on these passages of St. John, and such also is, and was always, mine. But though it is certainly proper to consute the erroneous interpretations of controversialists, who, from motives of party, have denied the reserence of this chapter to*fe^ the Sacrament, yet I cannot help obierv<. ing, that scarcely any reader of common sense can doubt that the words, concerning eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ, are to be applied to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. I

ven- .> venture to affirm that they are now so understood by all who have not been misled by the perufal of learned commentators or leaders in the field of controversy; and I think the decisions of common sense in matters of which it is competent to judge, are often more to be depended upon, as criterions of truth, than the resined speculations of men accustomed to dispute for the palm of victory.

I shall again have occasion briefly to confider the reserence of the sixth chapter of St. John to the Sacrament, when I proceed more particularly to review the benefits annexed to the worthy reception of it.

SECTION VI. ,;

The.Lord's Supper considered as a Feast on* or after, a Sacrifice.

rr- Hat the Lord's Supper is a seast on, ** or after, a facrifice, is an explication of it, which has been adopted by the ablest and most learned men. Dr. Cudworth, a great and venerable name, first suggested it in this country; and it has been firmly supported by the ingenious arguments of succeeding Divines. They have indeed given additional confirmation to it; but the honour of the original idea, should, I thinks be.assigned to him alone.

.i

From a close and impartial attention to their arguments, I am sully convinced, that the Eucharist is a seast after a facrifice; a seast after the great facrifice of all, even Jesus Christ upon the cross y in which all. other sacrifices, however various in their

kind

V

« ForrigeFortsett »