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fies our apprehensions in this respect; and the abuse which frequently attends its administration, must, we think, in this case, as in that of
Baptism, greatly exceed its use. We doubt · not the sincerity and piety, with which this
ceremony is frequently administered and received; yet we believe, that the true Lord's Supper requires no such elementary mediums as bread and wine for its participation ; but that it is the same, and the qualification to receive it the same, as is pointed out by this language to one of the churches: “Behold! I stand at the door, and knock : if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."* The experience of this inward communion, this spiritual participation of the Lord's Supper, is that which we desire to promote among the professors of Christianity ; believing with the Apostle, that “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost: for he that in these things serveth Christ, is acceptable to God, and approved of men.”+
· Our dissent from the generality of Christians, on the subjects of Water Baptism and * Rev, ii. 20.
+ Rom. xiv. 17, 18.
the Supper, and our disuse of these and other ceremonies, have, however, brought upon us much censure from some of our fellow Christians; who have even denied us a right to that name, conceiving that we could not be sincere believers in Christ. But our disuse of these ceremonies, is so far from proceeding from any inferior views of Christianity, that it arises from our very high opinion of it: on which ground we cannot reconcile these external rites to the great' objects, and particularly to the spirituality, of the Gospel Dispensation. We believe in Christ Jesus, the Saviour of men; we believe that He “ washed us from our sins in his own blood ;"* that He is “our passover, who is sacrificed for us;”+ and that He has abolished in his flesh, the enmity, even the law of commandments, contained in ordinances :—for through Him we have access, by one Spirit, unto the Father.” I
* Rev, i. 5.
+ 1 Cor. V. 7.
Ephes. ii. 15, 18,
On the Keligious Observance of Days
Exemption from censure claimed for their non-observance.The observance of them disapproved by the Apostle Paul.-.. More injurious than beneficial to religion-especially Festivals. ---Setting apart one day in the week approved.-On Public Fasts, &c.—Conclusion from Rom. xiv. 5, 8c.
OUR disuse of the religious observance of Days and Times, is generally known, and we trust that, both on this and the preceding subject, we may claim that exemption from censure, which the apostle granted to the church at Colosse : “Let no man judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come ; but the body is of Christ.”*
. By the law of Moses, many days and times were set apart, for the commemoration of various extraordinary circumstances, and for
* Col. ï. 16, &c.
other considerations connected with that dispensation. Some of these were, for a time, observed by the primitive Christians, especially by the Jewish converts, whose attachment to their law, as is already remarked, not only induced them to retain many of its ceremonies, but also to endeavour to impose them on the Gentile Christians. This the apostle Paul was particularly concerned to break through, and to assert the freedom of the Gospel dispensation, from the obligation of these legal observances; and, though he wished the believers not to judge one another, either for observing, or not observing days and times; yet he could not but consider it an unfavourable symptom in the Galatians, that they should, after having laid them aside, return to the observance of them : “ How turn ye again to the weak and 'beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage ? Ye observe days, and montlıs, and times, and years: I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain."'*
Unless those who are in this practice, can prove some command or injunction for it in
* Gal. iv. 9, 10, 11.
the New Testament, of which I know not any, I conceive but little more need be said on this subject. If any think the observance tends to promote piety and virtue, we would not judge. those who are inclined to make this use of it'; but I apprehend it is a fact of too much public notoriety not to be acknowledged, that observances of this kind, particularly the festivals, are in general so conducted as to promote dissipation and intemperance, much more than piety and virtue; and, therefore, in every point of view, we think we are well warranted in laying such observances aside.
We however consider the setting apart of one day in seven for cessation from business, and for religious services, no more than a reasonable duty : and we encourage the observance of it among our members. It has been our practice from the commencement of our religious society ; and, although we do not consider the First, or any day of the week, as possessing a superior degree of holiness; yet we believe considerable advantages to religion and virtue arise, not only from a proper dedication and employment of it, but even from the imperfect observance, with which it is on the whole regarded.