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the plan may be supposed to be master of its details. The builder of a structure may be trusted to compound and shape the materials to be used in construction. If protein is essential to life, the author of life is not dependent for its production on molecular forces, which act independently of his control. If protoplasm has a life of its own, which is the basis of all other forms of life, its mysterious endowment and destiny have originated in creative power and plan.

In attempting to set forth the scientific basis of our belief in a Creator, I do not assume to trace the bistory of the origin of this belief. Its origin in the history of the race and in the life of the individual, is long anterior to the rise of scientific knowledge. It springs up spontaneously in the presence of the great spectacle of the universe. From the earliest dawn of mental activity, the child recognizes in the forms, adaptations and orderly movements around him, something kindred to the constructive intelligence of which he is conscious in himself. The child's oft-repeated question - Who made this? Who made that ? - shows that his faith has already recognized a maker of the things that are. And when you answer his question, by telling him that God has made them all, you have communicated to him no new revelation; you have only given him a personal name for the wisdom and power which already fill his little soul with wonder and reverence. It is not till skepticism calls in question this natural, spontaneous belief, that we ever think of sustaining it by proofs. And when we are called upon to give a reason for the faith that is in us, we have only to reduce to words and to express in logical forms the inarticulate consciousness in which the belief took root, far back in the days of childhood.



If we mistake not, all possible modes of invitation to the Lord's Supper may be reduced to eight. There may be invited, (1) all mankind; (2) all who desire to be Christians; (3) all who believe themselves to be the followers of Christ; (4) all church members ; (5) all members in evangelical churches; (6) only members of the same denomination; (7) only members of the same local church ; (8) no formal invitation - the elements being offered to every one present.

The first and eighth forms, being substantially the same, have probably no advocates outside the small coterie of “ Free Religionists.” A universalism in church privileges so bald and broad as this, placing saints and sinners, friends and enemies, a Paul and a Voltaire on the same footing, is too repugnant even to depraved humanity to be dangerous; and we dismiss the forms of invitation that involve it, as needing on formal refutation.

The second form makes no distinction between a desire which, including choice, constitutes a person a true believer, and a desire, which excluding choice, is possessed by the enemies of Christ Jesus. As distinct from the third, it includes only the better class,- and asks to the Lord's Table those who are not, and who know that they are not, true Christians. The rich young ruler who went away from Christ sorrowing, well illustrates the class intended to be reached by this form of invitation. They lack the one thing needful.

The third form includes all who believe themselves to be the followers of Christ.” Some advocates of this urge in its favor, " that the church is a human organization, and has the

, liberty to extend its hospitality at its own pleasure; and, in the use of this liberty, it should be liberal and magnanimous.”

can come.

Has, indeed, the church the liberty to invite at pleasure whom it will? The proof of what we hold to be the only correct form, contains the answer of this question. So we pass on.

The fourth form requires, as a prerequisite to the Supper, membership in some church, but makes no distinction between orthodox and heterodox, the churches of Christ and the synagogues of Satan. This lies, therefore, under the condemnation, in part at least, of the preceding, and is rejected by the arguments for the true form.

The seventh form in confining the communion of saints to the bounds of a local church, is altogether too narrow.

It makes the Supper a family meal, to which no member of the household of faith, not connected with that particular church,

This form so cuts across the tender ties which unite all believers into one, that it should not be adopted except upon Divine authority. Though this be held by some to be right in theory, in practice this form is seldom, if ever, given.

The sicth form of invitation is somewhat wider, including all of the same faith and order. It makes the denominational line the limit of this mode of Christian fellowship. But the form is still too narrow to satisfy either the deep longings of the renewed heart, or the fundamental law of the churches.

Against these seven forms of invitation, and against any possible combination of them, objections, in our opinion, conclusive, though differing in form and in degree of force, can be brought; which objections will be developed as we proceed.

There is left then but the fifth form, midway between the extremes, which asks to the Lord's Table only members, in regular standing, of evangelical churches. This form, in our opinion, is neither too broad nor too narrow. And, in giving our reasons for our opinion, we shall attempt to show, on the one hand, why the invitation ought not to be restricted to any one denomination, and, on the other, why it should not be extended either to non-evangelical churches or to all those who may believe themselves to be the followers of Jesus Christ. If this form of invitation, common amongst Protestants, can be vindicated against these three, much more can it against all the other possible forms.

That the invitation to the Lord's Table ought not to be restricted to those of the same denomination, is, as it seems to us, conclusively proved by the fact that God does not restrict his spiritual blessings to any one denomination. No one communion so monopolizes the gift of eternal life, through the renewing visitation of the Holy Spirit, as rightly to debar all other denominations from the privilege of joining with it in celebrating the Lord's Supper. The principle on which all true Christian fellowship fundamentally rests, is wider than denominational lines. This principle, we claim, was definitely stated by the apostle Peter in the Council at Jerusalem; and on it the decision of that Council was expressly founded. Let us review the case, and show its application to the one in hand.

The church in Antioch was endangered by certain teachers who affirmed that except a man be circumcised after the manner of Moses, he could not be saved. “When therefore Panl and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they (the church) determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, (the brethren of the church) should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.”* It appears from the record that, neither at Antioch nor at Jerusalem, did the apostles assume to settle this dispute by the authority of their apostleship; but, instead, after there had been much disputing, Peter arose, and, referring to his visit to the Roman centurion, Cornelius, an uncircumcised Gentile, said, “Ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” + On the principle that the heart-searching God put no difference between the circumcised and the uncircumcised believer, they abrogated that rite, of which it was said, at its institution, "and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.” 1

Now we claim that this principle is the Divine criterion by

* Acts xv. 1, 2.

| Acts xv. 7-9.

* Gen, xyii. 13.

which all similar disputes among Christians are to be settled : and we ask, are the outpourings of the Holy Spirit confined within the line of Papal belief and polity? Are they limited to the circle of churches holding immersion to be the only mode of baptism? Are they shut up within the narrowing confines of the Psalm-singing churches? Do not the Methodists, the Lutherans, the Presbyterians, the Congregationalists sometimes receive this witness" of God? Now, if God thus bears them witness, we fail to see how the close communionists can escape the scathing rebuke, addressed by Peter to the schismatics in the Council at Jerusalem, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples?"* How can any church without tempting God, require, as a condition of fellowship, what God does not regard in the gitt of his Spirit ?

How, in the light of this principle, can a church, or a body of churches, presume to bar the great body of disciples, equally owned and blessed of God, from the table of our Lord ? Is not a yoke laid upon the necks of believers, when something is made a condition of sacramental communion which God does not require or regard? But, it may be asked, would you apply the same principle to unevangelical denominations ?

Most assuredly. When God bears them witness by the gift of His Spirit, putting no difference between them and us, who are we that we should reply against God? Are we wiser than He? Can we order His churches better than He? But

pause : When and where has God borne them witness ? Where has He, ever in the history of the world, honored a sect fundamentally wrong with his blessing? Did ever a local church, unevangelical in faith, have, from any cause, a revival of religion, without changing its creed back to the doctrines of the Gospel? We know a church that lapsed from the faith, and soon became almost extinct. Peculiar circumstances at length led it to settle an orthodox minister, whose labors were blessed in due time with a genuine revival. What was the result ? The church returned to its former creed, in which it still

* Acts xv. 10.

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