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tain planets, with their satellites, gyrate round our worthy sun, at a rate and in a course, which, by greatest good fortune, he and the like of him have succeeded in detecting,-is to me as precious as to another. But is this what thou namest ‘Me-. chanism of the Heavens,' and System of the World;' this, wherein Sirius and the Pleiades, and all Herschel's fifteen thousand suns per minute, being left out, some paltry handful of moons, and inert balls, had been-looked at, nicknamed, and marked in the Zodiacal Waybill; so that we can now prate of their whereabout; their How, their Why, their What, being had from us as in the signless Inane?
“System of Nature! To the wisest man, wide as is his vision, Nature remains of quite infinite depth, of quite infinite expansion; and all experience thereof limits itself to some few computed centuries and measured square-miles. The course of Nature's phases, on this our little fraction of a planet, is partially known to us; but who knows what deeper courses these depend on; what infinitely larger cycle (of causes) our little epicicle revolves on? To the minnow every cranny and pebble, and quality and accident, of its little native crcek may have become familiar; but does the minnow understand the ocean tides and periodic currents, the trade-winds and monsoons, and moon's eclipses; by all which the condition of its little creek is regulated, and may, from time to time )unmiraculously enough), be quite overset and reversed? Such a minnow is man; his creek, this planet earth; his ocean, the immeasurable All; his monsoons and periodic currents the mysterious course of Providence through Æons of Æons.
*We speak of the volume of Nature; and truly a volume it is,—whose author and writer is God. To read it! Dost thou, does man, so much as know the alphabet thereof?”
No, we do not know as much, even as much as the alphabet thereof. If such, then, be man's ignorance of Nature, let him talk and think humbly of the laws of creation. Let him not deny, where it would be wiser to examine the proof. Let him ask himself whether there be not laws of the spiritual world, that sometimes act upon and above the material creation. Let him carefully study the proof of the Christian miracles. Let him consider the need in which the world at the foundation of Christianity, stood of some signs from the spiritual world, to show, that man was not the slave of mere material force, that an iron fate did not rule over his destiny, and that he, although despairing of a just and overruling God, was not an orphan, but had a Father in Heaven. Let him consider, moreover, the moral sublimity of the Christian miracles. He
cannot then refrain from glorying in the heavenly scriptures, and owning them to be the work of God.
Art. 14.--PRESBYTERIANISM AND CHRISTIANITY.
NO. V. Creeds annul the Lord's Supper. We do not mean to say that many of all sects do not bring to the communion service feelings suitable to the Lord's supper; but we mean that creeds do away the Lord's Supper as a positive institution, distinct and peculiar, established by Christ. By the introduction of a new element, its original character is subverted. It becomes a different institution; and if it retains some features of the Lord's Supper, new ones are added, which Christ never contemplated-features so different as to destroy the old ordinance and make a new one. In short, it ceases to be the Lord's Supper, and becomes the supper of a sect. For what is the character of this rite, when assent to some sectarian creed is demanded, before one is allowed to unite in it?
1. The test of fitness to partake in the ordinance is not what Christ appointed.
His test was to be applied to the affections. But creeds are a test of belief. “Do this in remembrance of me,” said Christ. Nothing else is required by him to make one fit to come to his table, than that the communicant should be drawn thither by affectionate remembrance. He that loves Christ, and is led by that love to commemorate him, is prepared in spirit to approach the sacred table. But the modern imposers of creeds say: You shall
not join in our communion service unless you believe in the Trinity or original sin. You shall not partake, unless in addition to believing in the divine authority of the Bible, you also believe in the Thirty-nine articles or the assembly's catechism.
Who will not say that the ordinance which Christ established, is subverted by the introduction of a test essentially unlike and often hostile to the one appointed by himself.
2. The objects of the Lord's Supper, as instituted by Christ, and of the ordinance which the imposers of creeds call by the same name are essentially unlike.
His object was to make his followers feel alike--to unite them to each other and to himself by affection. If this is also a part of their object, they add another which subverts it.
They use it, practically as a means to make men think alike. Christ intended it as a bond to draw his disciples of every age and clime together in the feeling of common brotherhood, and bind all of them by a common love, as by a chain let down from heaven, to himself. They who hedge it about with creeds, turn it into an instrument wherewith to force men (so far as those ever powerful weapons, church censure and exclusion have force,) to think and believe as Calvin or Luther or St. Augustine believed, or as some favorite synod, council, or assembly voted. But they cannot stifle thought, and the consequence is, that the ordinance is changed from one of love, to one of bitterness. The table of the Lord is made the place for a sect to array itself against other sects; and the bread of Life, and Love, and Peace made the means of nourishing sectarian rivalry, of strengthening sectarian bigotry, of exasperating sectarian contention, till Christianity itself becomes a by-word and a scoff to the unbeliever. By using it as a means of ducing unity of faith with some by-gone creed maker; by adding this new element to its original purpose, the most important characteristics of the ordinance are changed, till it is scarcely less unlike that established by Christ, than was that dreadful perversion of it, against which Paul bore his testimony in writing to the Corinthians.
3. One very important peculiarity of the Lord's Supper, is, that they who partake of it, receive the invitation to do so from Christ himself. When the sacred table is spread, it ceases to belong to the minister or to the church. It is the Lord's table. And it is his invitation coming over the interval of 1800 years; that gives any one the right to approach it. He addresses to all who call themselves Christians, as much as to his first disciples, the command, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Around his table all are equally invited guests. He invites, and (except to his first apostles, to whom he gave a divine insight into character,) he has given to no man or body of men, to no church, synod, or assembly, the right to exclude
How different is this ordinance as modified by the imposers of creeds! They invite those among the number who love the Lord Jesus, to partake with them, who believe their creed, and reject all others. They assume authority to exclude whomsoever they choose, not only on the ground of character, but on the ground of intellectual belief. They retain the table as theirs, and appropriate to themselves all authority over it. They say practically this is ours--not the Lord's table, but ours, to which we have full liberty to invite, and from which
any one from it.
we may exclude whomsoever we choose. And such it is. It is not the Lord's table, but the table of a sect. In their hands, the Lord's supper has lost all its peculiar and essential characteristics, and become an entirely different thing—the festival of a sect.
But it is asked, Shall we allow any one who chooses to partake in this holy institution? We answer, that our Saviour did not prohibit even Judas from sitting at the table at which the ordinance was established. Are we so holy as to be in danger of being defiled by sitting down with a publican or sinner? The scriptures say to each one who would partake, Let him examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread or drink of that cup. And so let each one examine himself-not another—but himself. Each communicant is to examine himself-he bas nothing to do with the hearts of others. They are open only to themselves and to God. And as each one finds his heart, so let him, or let him not, partake. If he partakes with
affections and purposes, not man, but God is his judge; and the wrong and the sin are not on the church, but on his own head.
But have not Christians a right to form creeds? Certainly they have. And they may institute as many festivals and ordinances as they please; they may invite or exclude as many as they will; and on what grounds they will. But let then not call their human ordinances by the name of the Lord': Supper. Let them not take that hallowed ordinance, and after adding tests which Christ never appointed, and objects which he never contemplated, and assumed authority over it which he never delegated to any now living; let them not, after transforming it into a means of crippling religious thought, and of nourishing bigotry, sectarian prejudice, and strife, call it the Lord's Supper. All these results we believe are necessarily woven into the plan, by which it is required of those who would commemorate the death of the Saviour, that they should approach to his table through the doors of a human and exclusive creed; and therefore do we say that creeds annul the Lord's Supper.
We have said that we doubt not that many of all sects bring to the communion service those dispositions which they ought to bring; nor do we doubt that many, as it is now administered, derive from it much of the good which it was intended to convey to the disciple of Christ; nor do we for a moment imagine that there is any intended perversion of the institution. Yet we believe that this perversion does really exist to such a degree, that the original character and purpose of the ordinance are essentially done away, and another ordinance, in some things indeed resembling, but in many respects hostile to it, installed in its place.
We have not hesitated to point out what we conceive to be the perversions of this rite, for this must be the first step taken in restoring it to its original purity. We hope to see the time when the Lord's Supper shall be a festival of peace and union. When that day shall come, it will be an ordinance whose legitimate influence will be, to make feeling and affection the same, where speculative opinions differ. Around the con. secrated table, those fresh from embittering controversies will meet, and wbile with a common love they call to remembrance a common Saviour, they will forget that in all things they have not speculated alike. There may be storm and discord abroad, but that place will be a hallowed one in which the demon of strife will have no power. Forgetting that they are sectarians-only remembering that they are Christians, they will there cherish, not unity of opinion, indeed, but what is infinitely better-unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
Art. 15.-APPENDIX TO THE “MAN OF EXPE.
In the amusing and instructive paper which we have taken from the ancient files of the North American Review, called the "Man of Expedients," there is one phaze of his character omitted, which we feel tempted to supply. The man of expedients is sometimes found among theologians and divines, especially at the present day, and we must try to describe the theological man of expedients.
The theological man of expedients is one, who instead of following his conscience and reason in religious matters, follows the popular fashion, consults appearance, and trys to seem orthodox--whatever orthodoxy may happen to be in his place and time.
Whatsoever King may reign,
He'll be the vicar of Bray, sir. Caiphas was a man of expedients, when he said it is expedient that one man die for the people, and so the whole nation perish not.” Pilate was a man of expedients when he believed Jesus to be a just person, and then put him to death. Erasmus was a man of expedients when he thought it safest to keep in with the Pope, and write against the Reformers, though his