Obrazy na stronie

shewn in other instances of these three Evangelists differing one from another in the order of their narratives; one places those things in his history after others, which another places first.These sacred historians do not undertake to declare precisely the date of every incident, but regard more the truth of facts, than the order of time. However, in the present case, the nature of the thing speaks for itself, and shews, that Judas's dipping with Christ in the dish, or his hand being with Christ on the table, or receiving a sop dipped in the dish, must be in that order wherein Matthew and Mark place it in their history, viz. at the passover, antecedent to the Lord's supper. For there is no such thing in the Lord's supper as dipping of sops, and dipping together in the dish; but there was in the passover, where all had their hands together in the dish, and dipt their sops in the bitter sauce. None of these three evangelists give us any account of the time when Judas went out; but John-who is vastly more particular as to what passed that night, and is every where more exact as to the order of time than the other Evangelists-is very precise as to the time, viz. that Jesus when he gave him the sop, at the same time sent him away, bidding him do quickly what he intended to do; and accordingly, when he had received the sop, he went immediately out, John xiii. 27-30. Now this sop being at the passover, it is evident he was not present at the Lord's supper which followed. Many of the best expositors are of this opinion, such as Van Mastricht, Dr. Doddridge, and others.

ANSWER 2. If Judas was there I deny the consequence. As I have observed once and again concerning the Lord's dealings with his people under the Old Testament, so under the New the same observation takes place. Christ did not come to judge the secrets of men, nor did ordinarily act in his external dealings with his disciples, and in the administration of ordinances, as the Searcher of Hearts; but rather as the head of the visible church, proceeding according to what was exhibited in profession and visibility; herein setting an example to his ministers, who should stand in his place when he was gone, and act in his name in the administration of ordinances. Judas had made the same profession of regard to his master, and of forsaking all for him, as the other disciples: And therefore Christ did not openly renounce him till he himself had destroyed his profession and visibility of saintship, by public scandalous apostacy. Supposing then the presence of Judas at the Lord's supper, this affords no consequence in favour of what I


ANSWER 3. If they with whom I have to do in this con


troversy are not contented with the answers already given, and think there is a remaining difficulty in this matter lying against my scheme, I will venture to tell them, that this difficulty lies full as hard against their own scheme: and if there be any strength at all in the argument, it is to all intents of the same strength against the need of those qualifications which they themselves suppose to be necessary in order to an approach to the Lord's table. For although they do not think renewing saving grace necessary, yet they suppose moral seriousness, or (as they variously speak) moral sincerity in religion to be necessary. They suppose it to be requisite, that persons should have some kind of serious principle and view in coming to the Lord's table; some intention of subjecting themselves to Christ, and of seeking and serving him, in general; and in particular some religious end in coming to the sacramental supper, some religious respect to Christ in it. But now did not Christ at that time perfectly know that Judas had none of these things? He knew he had nothing of sincerity in the Christian religion, or of regard to Christ in that ordinance, of any sort whatsoever; he knew that Satan had entered into him and filled his heart, and that he was then cherishing in himself a malignant spirit against his master, excited by the reproof Christ had lately given him, (compare John xii. 8, with Matt. xxvi. 8-16, and Mark xiv. 4-11) and that he had already formed a traitorous murderous design against him, and was now in the prosecution of that bloody design, having actually just before been to the chief priests, and agreed with them to betray him for thirty pieces of silver. (See Matt. xxvi. 14, 15, 16. Mark xiv. 10, 11. Luke xxii. 3-6, and John xiii. 2.)— Christ knew these things, and knew that Judas was utterly unqualified for the holy sacrament of the Lord's supper; though it had not yet been made known to the church or the disciples. Therefore it concerns those on the contrary part in this controversy, to find out some solution of this difficulty, as much as it does me; and they will find they have as much need to take refuge in the solution already given, in one or other of the two preceding answers to this objection.

By the way I would observe, that Christ's not excluding Judas from the passover, under these circumstances, knowing him to be thus unqualified, without so much as moral sincerity,&c. is another thing that effectually enervates all the strength of the objection against me, from the passover. For Judas did not only in common with others fall under God's strict command, in the law of Moses, to keep this feast, without any exception of his case there to be found; but Christ himself, with his own hand, gave him the sop, a part of the paschal feast; even although at the same instant he had in view the man's secret wickedness and hypocrisy, the traitorous design which was then in his heart.

and the horrid conspiracy with the chief priests, which he had already entered into, and was now prosecuting. This was then in Christ's mind, and he intimated it to him, at the same moment when he gave him the sop, saying, What thou doest, do quickly. This demonstrates, that the objection from the passover is no stronger argument against my scheme, than the scheme of those whom I oppose; because it is no stronger against the necessity of sanctifying grace, the qualification for Christian sacraments, which I insist upon, than it is against the necessity of moral seriousness or sincerity, the qualification which they insist upon.


If sanctifying grace be a requisite qualification in order to due access to Christian sacraments, God would have given some certain rule, whereby those who are to admit them, might know whether they have such grace, or not.

ANSWER. This objection was obviated in my stating the question. However, I will say something further to it in this place; and would observe, that if there be any strength in this objection, it lies in the truth of this proposition, viz. That whatever qualifications are requisite in order to persons' due access to Christian sacraments, God has given some certain rule, whereby those who admit them, may know whether they have those qualifications or not. If this proposition is not true, then there is no force at all in the argument. But I dare say, there is not a divine, nor Christian of common sense, on the face of the earth, that will assert and stand to it, that this proposition is true. For none will deny, that some sort of belief of the being of a God, some sort of belief that the Scriptures are the word of God, that there is a future state of rewards and punishments, and that Jesus is the Messiah, are qualifications requisite in order to a due access to Christian sacraments; and yet God has given those who are to admit persons no certain rule, whereby they may know whether they believe any one of these things. Neither has he given his ministers or churches any certain rule, whereby they may know whether any person that offers himself for admission to the sacrament, has any degree of moral sincerity, moral seriousness of spirit, or any inward moral qualification whatsoever. These things have all their existence in the soul, which is out of our neighbour's view. Not therefore a certainty, but a profession, and visibility of these things, must be the rule of the church's proceeding; and it is as good and as reasonable a rule of judgment concerning saving grace, as it is concerning any other



internal invisible qualifications, which cannot be certainly known by any but the subject himself.


If sanctifying grace be requisite to a due approach to the Lord's table, then no man may come but he that knows he has such grace. A man must not only think he has a right to the Lord's supper, in order to his lawful partaking of it; but he must know he has a right. If nothing but sanctification gives him a real right to the Lord's supper, then nothing short of the knowledge of sanctification gives him a known right to it: Only an opinion and probable hopes of a right will not warrant his coming.

ANSWER 1. I desire those who insist on this as an invincible argument, to consider calmly whether they themselves ever did, or ever will stand to it. For here these two things are to be observed:

(1.) If no man may warrantably come to the Lord's supper, but such as know they have a right, then no unconverted persons may come unless they not only think, but know it is the mind of God, that unconverted persons should come, and know that he does not require grace in order to their coming. For unless they know that men may come without grace, they cannot know that they themselves have a right to come, being without grace. And will any one assert and stand to it, that of necessity all adult persons, of every age, rank, and condition of life, must be so versed in this controversy, as to have a certainty in this matter, in order to their coming to the Lord's supper? It would be most absurd for any to assert it to be a point of easy proof, the evidence of which is so clear and obvious to every one of every capacity, as to supersede all occasion for their being studied in divinity, in order to a certainty of its truth, that persons may come to the sacred table of the Lord, notwithstanding they know themselves to be unconverted! Especially considering, that the contrary to this opinion has been in general the judgment of Protestant divines and churches, from the Reformation to this day; and that the most of the greatest divines that have ever appeared in the world, who have spent their lives in the diligent prayerful study of divinity, have been fixed in the reverse of that opinion. This is sufficient at least to shew, that this opinion is not so plain as not to be a disputable point; and that the evidence of it is not so obvious to persons of the lowest capacity and little inquiry, as that all may come to a certainty in the matter, with

out difficulty and without study. I would humbly ask here, What has been the case in fact in our churches, who have practised for so many years on this principle? Can it be pretended, or was it ever supposed, that the communicants in general, even persons of mean intellects and low education, not excepting the very boys and girls of sixteen years old, that have been taken into the church, had so studied divinity, as not only to think, but know, that our pious forefathers, and almost all the Protestant and Christian divines in the world, have been in an error in this matter? And have people ever been taught the necessity of this previous knowledge? Has it ever been insisted upon, that before persons come to the Lord's supper, they must look so far into the case of a right to the Lord's supper, as to come not only to a full settled opinion, but even certainty in this point! And has any one minister or church in their admissions ever proceeded on the supposition, that all whom they took into communion were so versed in this controversy, as this comes to? Has it ever been the manner to examine them as to their thorough acquaintance with this particular controversy? Has it been the manner to put by those who had only an opinion and not a certainty; even as the priests who could not find their register, were put by, till the matter could be determined by Urim and Thummim? And I dare appeal to every minister, and every member of a church that has been concerned in admitting communicants, whether they ever imagined, or it ever entered into their thought, concerning each one to whose admission they have consented, that they had looked so much into this matter, as not only to have settled their opinion, but to be arrived to a proper certainty?

(2.) I desire it may be remembered, that the venerable author of the Appeal to the Learned, did in his ministry ever teach such doctrine from whence it will unavoidably follow, that no one unconverted man in the world can know he has a warrant to come to the Lord's supper. For if any unconverted man has a warrant to worship his Maker in this way, it must be because God has given him such warrant by the revelation of his mind in the holy Scriptures. And therefore if any unconverted man, not only thinks, but knows, he has a warrant from God, he must of consequence, not only think, but know, that the Scriptures are the word of God. But I believe all that survive of the stated hearers of that eminent divine, and all who were acquainted with him, well remember it to be a doctrine which he often taught and much insisted on, that no natural man knows the Scripture to be the word of God; that although such may think so, yet they do not know it; and that at best they have but a doubtful opinion: And he often would express himself thus; No natural man is thoroughly convinced, that the Scriptures are the word of

« PoprzedniaDalej »