« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
preparation, not only so tedious and troublesome as to be impracticable for persons engaged in the ordinary concerns of life, but, as Bishop Beveridge expresses it,
so nice and ticklish a thing, that they despair of ever observing all the little Rules which are laid down, and therefore, seldom, or never, trouble their heads about it.”.
The author, while he has gladly availed himself of the help afforded by the Treatises of others, has endeavoured to take the Scriptures as his only sure guide. He has had'occasion to see, that the nature of this ordinance has been much mis-stated from a neglect of that guide. In extracting passages from old authors, he has taken the liberty here and there of altering a word, or the construction of a sentence, to adapt it to more modern usage. Where he las varied the idea, he has generally noticed the passage as taken from others, by inverted commas, without quoting the authority, thus making himself responsible for the sentiment expressed.
The writer has seldom quoted the opinions of the Christian Fathers on the Sacrament, being convinced that the Holy Scriptures are the only and the sufficient rule of faith to the Church. He was anxious also not to swell his work; and not to make it a controversial, instead of a practical and devotional, book. Those who wish to see the sentiments of the Fathers GENERALLY, may consult the writings of Cranmer and Jewell. L'Arroque's History of the Sacrament gives a full account of their sentiments on its form of celebration, doctrine, and worship. Waterland's Treatise on the Eucharist, gives their sentiments on the DOCTRINES of the Sacrament; and Bingham's Christian Antiquities,
on the DISCIPLINE of the Church respecting it. These writers sufficiently establish the point, that the doctrines and practices peculiar to the Roman Catholics have no support in the primitive Fathers, whose statements in the main concur with those of the Protestant Churches, and particularly of the Church of England. Cranmer's Treatise on the Sacrament is well worth reading by esery one; but readers in general will find little interest or profit from controversial Treatises.
It is generally known that this Institution was one of the chief points in controversy between the Protestants and Roman Catholics, and, alas! among the Protestant Churches themselves at the Reformation. The Author has almost wholly abstained from that controversy, being persuaded that the plain statement, and scriptural proof of truth, is the most effectual way of combating
What Christian does not long for the day when that ordinance which too often has served to divide Christians, shall at length serve to unite them, and teach them what it was evidently designed to do--to love one another even as Christ has loved them?
He has introduced statements in the body of the work, and confessions in the meditations, respecting the sinfulness of man, which some may think too strong, or too particular. He would repeat however what has been often observed, that the true penitent will have a far deeper sense of the guilt of an evil desire, or an unholy temper, than a person careless and unconcerned about his soul will have of an openly immoral action. If the Holy Spirit have convinced us of our sinfulness, there will be a tenderness of conscience as to the commission of sin, to which worldly men are entire strangers. They will therefore often
quite mistake the believer's real character :-looking only at his confessions, they would count him a grievous sinner; but looking at his life, they will reckon him needlessly precise and strict.
A part of this Treatise was delivered, as the Author's Work on Prayer was, in a course of Sermons to the afternoon congregation at Wheler Chapel. The Author might say much of the interrupted way in which he has had to prepare it for the press. Those who know the engagements of the station in which he is privileged to labour, will make candid allowances on this account.
He has to express his obligations for the valuable remarks of a kind and able friend who revised much of the manuscript; and of a dear brother, (dear both by the ties of nature, and of a common ministry in the Gospel of Christ,) to whom he is indebted, not only in this, but also in his former Publications.
May a blessing from above, through prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Christ, attend the perusal of this Treatise to every reader! Greatly sha! the Author rejoice, if by means of it, any should obtain clearer views of the nature of this ordinance, and be assisted in the devout celebration of it; have greater enjoyment in its observance, and more practically improve it afterwards.
March 2, 1892.
THE LORD'S SUPPER.
DESIGNED TO EXPLAIN THE DOCTRINES AND DUTIES CONNECTED WITH THE