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supper at Corinth than the one of which he was treating, is simply absurd. The entire narrative makes it as clear as daylight that his object was not to show that their meal of fellowship was not designed to be a Lord's meal (or a Dominical meal), but that they had vitiated its character as such. He said to them virtually“ Though you do come together in one place professedly to partake of a feast of love, yet you Corinthians are become so impatient of one another's differences, that it is no longer an occasion of fellowship, but an occasion of strife and debate, and therefore certainly cannot be termed a Dominical feast. Make it again what it was at first, my friends, by recognising the communion of saints with one another and with their risen Head, courteously waiting for one another, welcoming one another, causing all to share and share alike,-and then your feast will again be what it was in the beginning, a Dominical feast ;” a Lord's feast, or Lord's supper, to adopt the universal phrase. [Though it may here be observed in passing, that the word deipnon, variously translated in the New Testament, indicated the principal meal of the day, taken in the afternoon simply because the work of the day was supposed to be over; and is not at all represented by the slight refreshment taken at the fag end of the day just before retiring to rest. Without this qualification the word supper misleads.]

So the genealogy of the Supper seems to be this. At first, as St. Luke tells us, the believers kept together, holding all things in common. This form of communion soon dropped down to a single meal per diem, when the day's work was done, called an Agapé, or Love-feast, or the breaking of bread. The third movement was to confine the act to the first day of the week; and after the persecution consequent on the drawing up of Pliny's report, it was held for secrecy's sake in the early morning. All this while it was acquiring, or rather retaining, the name of the Lord's Supper, in commemoration of the closing scene conducted by our Lord at the Passover. But it is also an historic fact that in the after ages an additional service, called emplatically the Lord's Supper, came to be added to the love-feast as a kind of dessert,—a supper after a supper,—something more solemn, more representative, more suggestive, more tgurative, more mysterious, than the Agape or common meal. The priests, in short, got hold of it, and converted it to their own uses. Let us trace the gradual process. The two earliest fathers, Clement of Rome and the unknown writer of the Epistle to Diognetus, say nothing about it. The first audible utterance is that of Justin Martyr, who tells us that in his day it was the practice for the deacons, after prayers, to bring in and distribute bread and wine and water, and to carry the remainder to the absent or the sick members,—the elements having first been transmuted, he does not say how, into the body and blood of the Lord, and thus afterwards into the boʻly and blood of the recipients. Irenæus follows in the same track, and is the first to proclaim dis

tinctly that the process confers immortality on the body. Clement of Alexandria comes next, and is at war with his predecessor so far as to say that it is the cup which confers immortality, in which he is also at war with himself where in another place he contends that immortality is secured by baptism. He enters into a mystical dissertation to justify the addition of water to the wine. They all wrangled about the water at the Supper, till Cyprian complained that some got nothing but water for their share. The Romish clergy finished off by taking the wine altogether from the unhappy laity, and keeping it for themselves; so that, excepting the wafer, the people had not even the solatium of a cup of cold water. And thus has Ecclesiasticism wielded its magic despotism over docile minds all down the ages ; for by means of what are called the Sacraments, the eternal destinies of their poor fellow-creatures are professedly held in priestly hands, and even an Anglican clergyman, by the formula of his consecration, is invested with the retention and remission of sins. But all are not docile; and what the people really think about it is expressed in the fact that the Latin words Hoc est corpus,” meaning “ This is (my] body,” have time out of mind been taken as the equivalent of Hocus-pocus.

The discussions about transubstantiation would fill- & volume ? -nay, a library; and the vile uses to which the ceremony has been applied are the foulest blot on Christianity. Even our authorised translators cannot be held guiltless in this matter. By the use of very strong language they have surrounded the Feast with a fictitious horror which is quite unwarranted. The use of that dreadful word Damnation, when viewed in the light of its popular acceptation, amounts to a positive fraud. The word is krima, from which we get our word crime, and at the very utmost means only a liability to that discipline by the Holy Spirit which was sent in love, not sent for destruction, that the spirit of the offender might be saved in the Day of the Lord Jesus. In two or three places also our translators have made an unfair use of the Greek article, in the narrative of the Supper—the object of which is unmistakable.

But as this “eating and drinking damnation " was the penalty for “not discerning the Lord's body," it became a momentous inquiry to ascertain what this latter term included ; nay, it is a momentous question in any case, and at any time. Ask a priest what it means, whether a Romanist or an Anglican ; he will reply, “of course, it means that you do not perceive that we have changed the bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord.”

Ask a Quaker; he will say that, as the Greek word translated “ discerning” implies discrimination, separating, drawing a distinction, then the text in question indicates a failure to draw an intelligent dis

& tinction between ceremonies which are but as shadows, and the body which is Christ. And who shall say that the Quaker is wrong?

But this sense of “separating," which undoubtedly is the primary sense of Diakrino, has been explained in another and an extraordinary manner. It has been averred, by whom first it might be difficult to say, that it was a practice at the Agapé to set aside a loaf, called the Lord's loaf, to be afterwards in a more formal manner broken and eaten as the Lord's Supper. So the expression in debate, “not discerning the Lord's body," would come to be, “omitting to separate and set apart the Lord's loaf, quasi, the Lord's body.” And this was the sin drawing after it the penalty of bodily sickness, or other calamities, and even in some cases the sleep of death! Is it credible ? Is it possible to suppose that the Apostle Paul, who hated ceremonies, had such a practice in his eye when rebuking the Corinthians ? Is it not rather an afterthought,-an hypothesis deriving its birth from the comparatively modern or mediæval practice of making the Lord's Eupper an addendum to the Agapé instead of recognising their essential identification ?

The question lastly arises,- Did Paul regard the Lord's Supper as an isolated act; or, on the other hand, did he not directly and indirectly throughout his writings suggest that whatever we give thanks for, and take in fellowship, is a Lord's meal,- that "sublime is the rule, not the exception ?"

Some will instantly and urgently reply,–Paul meant more than this; for are not his own words: “This is not to eat the Lord's Supper ?" Then, by way of rejoinder, let it be distinctly understood that there is no such term as “the Lord's Supper” in the New Testament. It is "a Lord's Supper,” and this is not a disputed text. Or we may term it “a Dominical* feast.” “ But why,” it may be asked, “need we seek to dethrone this so long established and cherished an institution ? If we cannot elevate all the actions of life into the region of the sublime, let us at least leave this one undisturbed ; let us continue to enjoy, as heretofore, the happy hours in which we have sat before the Lord.” Well, it is not proposed for a moment to degrade it to a profane level. The contention throughout this paper has been to assert the claim which all the actions of life possess to rise to and repose in the same sublime level. Otherwise this result follows: that if you make one exceptional act holy, you thereby declare all other actions to be unholy, or, as we say, secular. And by the very fact of isolation you run the risk of rendering that exceptional action sibylline, mystical, metaphysical, enigmatical, scenic, superstitious, and, consequently, mischievous. This has been the object of priestcraft in every age—to invest with a fictitious holiness the matters which they themselves manipulate. Thus we have holy baptism, holy communion, holy matrimony, holy orders, holy

* The word translated Lord's is an epithet, not a noun. It is difficult to construct a fitting epithet out of the word Lord. Lordly” would not express the meaning. For this reason the epithet “i Dominical" has been occasionally adopted in this essay.


garments—to say nothing of the holy inventory of Rome, snuffers, candlesticks, and crucifixes. Whereas the Holy Spirit seems to labour all through the New Testament to convince men that nothing is common or unclean, that everything is holy to the Christian, and that all such distinctions are obsolete, childish, and even treasonable. Sublime is the rule, not the exception.

But our honest Briton may further object,-“ This idea of sublimating all the occasions of work-day life into an Eucharistic atmosphere may be a very fine idea, but it is not practical. How can I, for instance, realise it when I am surrounded by worldly influences, or snatching, it may be, a hasty lunch at a railway station? In my case, at least, it is a strain I cannot bear."

Well, then, leave it alone. The apostle would say in such a case, “ If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." But is it so very difficult ? Does an honest teetotaller ever forget his pledge because he happens to be in a hurry? and was it such a very inaccessible height which Robertson of Brighton reached when he exclaimed, “ The entire creation has become a Sacrament to me?" Remember this: When the challenge of Heaven, like the lightning, strikes on burnished steel, it is answered back with a flash in some measure corresponding with the energy of the impact. But how if the challenge fall on a mud wall ?

I leave the question with which this paper commenced pretty much as I found it. Phosphorescent light has been thrown on it during the dark ages. Will any intelligent reader of the RAINBOW throw a little prismatic light on it ?


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THE SPIRITS IN PRISON. HE famous text in 1 Peter iii., which speaks of certain spirits in

prison to whom our Lord went and preached, has given rise to very various surmises, and has been eagerly laid hold of by men of very opposite views. By each of them it is quoted as confirmatory of their peculiar theories. Two schools of thought, however, there are in our day who regard the passage in Peter with especial favour. The first are those who would extend human probation beyond this present life, and who suppose that after men are dead they still have messages of mercy sent to them. Of these there are various shades of opinion. Some suppose that these messages are partially, others that they are very generally, and others again that they are universally accepted at one period or other of the eternal future, by those who in this life had died unreconciled to God. Another school of thought looks to this passage as proof of their view that death is not by any means the extinction of existence in the case of man, as it is in that of all the creation inferior to him. Some of this school are identical with that already mentioned as hoping that a work of salvation goes on among the departed; but others are wholly opposed to this view, and, holding most unhesitatingly that there is no probation after this life, quote and refer to the passage as

proof of the continued existence of man during his condition of death. “ The passage,” says Mr. Robert W. Landis, a well known American writer, ** teaches the uninterrupted immortality of the human spirit of Christ, and by consequence that of his redeemed. It teaches, likewise, the uninterrupted immortality of the spirits of wicked men, and of course that they do not cease to exist at death.”*

The ground on which these different schools of thought appeal to this passage is that the “ spirits in prison” spoken of are the spirits of men. Some of them make it to refer to a particular generation of men, viz., the disobedient of the time of Noab. Others give it a wider application, and suppose that it includes with the above all others before or after Noah's time, who died under somewhat similar circumstances. While others would give it a universal application to all men, of all times. “ That great work,” says Mr. Birks, with reference to this verse, “includes all states of men, living or dead, and all ages of mankind.”+ But with this variety in the application of the words, all are agreed that “the spirits in prison,” are human spirits and no other. Few of them think it worth wbile to consider if any other view is possible. Most of them assume their opinion as indubitable. Some for a moment glance at a different interpretation, but dismiss it with a few quiet words of contempt. None of them seem to be aware that a very different interpretation was commonly held in the first ages of Christianity by Christian men.

The view which I hold, and here advocate, is totally different from that referred to as generally received. Long deterred from even giving it an entrance into my mind for reasons which probably influence great numbers, I have now for a considerable time adopted it with a constantly increasing sense that it is the true and only and most rational meaning of the words. I make no claim to originality or novelty in the case ; for which I am glad, as I do not think that any really new view can be true. I only bring forward a very old opinion now generally forgotten or ignored.

I hold then, that the “spirits in prison,” are not men at all, nor any part, however important, of human nature. If man in his living perfection be threefold in nature, consisting of body, soul, and spirit, I maintain that his soul and spirit are just as little referred to here as his body. If man's living nature be dual, and that soul and spirit are in truth one and the same, I hold still that there is in this Scripture no reference whatsoever to the souls and spirits of men. The apostle is referring to anot ier order of beings, viz., to angels who in the days of Noah kept not the state and place assigned to them by God, and who were in consequence, when the human race was nearly destroyed by the deluge, contined in a prison house where they are awaiting judgment. To these, as I gather from the passage, our Lord went and preached or proclaimed some great message, probably between His resurrection and His ascension to heaven.

My tirst reason for rejecting the idea that men are referred to in the passage is that the term “spirits,” taken by itself absolutely and without any qualifying phrase, is not applied to men in toly Scripture. We read

The Imüortality of the Soul.” By Robert W. Landis, p. 236
† “ The Victory of Divine Goodness." By T. R. Birks, M.A., p. 29.

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