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acter of the dispenser ;—but holds that all unworthy persons, such as draw near without sorrow for their sins, without a living faith in Christ, and without the sincere purpose of leading holy lives, eat and drink condemnation to themselves. Therefore she insists upon the absolute necessity of a thorough selfexamination previous to the communion.
6. The German Reformed Church rejects the doctrine of “the presence of Christ's body and blood in and under the bread and wine;" but teaches "a real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the transaction of the Supper, so that with bread and wine the Lord is present for all communicants, and is really enjoyed by all believers.” “ The question, how it is possible that Christ can be present for all, and offer himself really to believers, since he has ascended to heaven, the German Reformed Church does not attempt to explain by setting up the doctrine of his bodily omnipresence-communicatio idiomatum ;-but she suffers a mystery to remain a mystery still, and teaches that Christ, although in heaven, is nevertheless present in the Lord's Supper, in a manner that is incomprehensible and inexplicable.” But although our Church holds and teaches that Christ offers himself to every communicant present; yet she cannot believe what has been asserted by some, that every one, even a decided unbeliever partakes of the Lord's body and blood. Hence we consider it great presumption, when any particular denomination or sect arrogates to itself the exclusive possession of the only pure doctrine of the Lord's Supper, and then makes the efficacy of the sacrament dependent upon this, as is commonly done by Old Lutherans. That the Lord, as the true bread of heaven, feeds the longing soul in and through the sacrament, is a fact upon which the German Reformed Church lays great stress.
She teaches also emphatically that the symbols do not bring the Saviour to us; but that Christ feeds our souls with himself through the Holy Spirit, who is the only mediator between temporal and eternal, or earthly and heavenly things. (1 Cor. 12: 1.) Hence she does not make the sacramental blessings independent of those which proceed from the Holy Spirit, as if
the one could be enjoyed without the other. With her the word of God, the sacraments, the influence of the Holy Spirit and the Christian Church, are all divine means of grace, given and instituted by Christ for the salvation of sinners. As such they must go together and can never be separated, as if a part of them could accomplish the end for which the Lord has instituted them all. Searching the Scriptures and seeking the influence of the Holy Spirit is necessary and praiseworthy; but this by itself will never make a complete and genuine Christian. And on the other hand, to have faith in the Christian Church and in the holy sacraments, is necessary and commendable ; but also this by itself will never constitute a true follower of Christ. Yet this dependence upon a part of the means of grace is practiced in the Christian world to a lamentable extent. Among Roman Catholics the entire salvation is made to depend upon their faith in the Church and her ordinances; and hence by far too little account is made of the word of God, and of the particular influence of the Holy Spirit. This is practically demonstrated in her members. On the other hand, many Protestants appear to consider the reading of the Scripture and the influence of the Holy Spirit all-sufficient for salvation; therefore they make too little account of the sacraments in their proper sense, and the exercise of faith in the Church is considered almost superfluous. This is one of the essential and fundamental differences between Catholics and Protestants, and it is evident that there is room here for correction on both sides. The German Reformed Church has endeavored from the start to combine the means of grace, and to give due importance to each of them, according to Scripture. In her Catechism, Quest. 65, she teaches that “the Holy Ghost works faith in our hearts by the preaching of the Gospel, and confirms it by the use of the sacraments.” But the preaching of the Gospel, and the use of the sacraments are inseparably connected with the Christian Church ; for without it they could not even exist. Being conscious of this fact the German Reformed people exercise faith in the living Church of our Lord as a divinely instituted means of grace. How it delights their souls to sing: “I love thy kingdom Lord, the house of thine abode,” &c.
May we not hope that this brief statement of our doctrine of the Lord's Supper will silence at least some objections, and assist also to confirm our dear people in the faith of their sainted forefathers? No doubt many of our brethren have heard Lutheran ministers make the assertion, that a member of the Germad Reformed Church has to lose nothing by going over to them, whilst a member of their Church loses much by coming to us. This we consider an utterly mistaken notion; for who
. ever will study carefully the scriptural purity and soundness of our glorious doctrine of the Lord's Supper, will soon be led to the conclusion, that the contrary is the fact. Let no one be deceived by such boasting assertions, nor by any cries of danger; for we stand on firm ground.
Another serious charge is brought against us, in reference to this subject, which we cannot well pass by without some notice. Holding on with firm determination to the faith of our forefathers, as we find it in the Heidelberg Catechism, and in various other symbolical productions of our Church, we are gravely charged with a Romanizing tendency. This accusation is the fruit, no doubt, of those extremely low views, preralent among some Protestant denominations ; whose “master minds” even proclaim loudly that “they celebrate the Lord's Supper in remembrance of an absent friend." Such views our Church could never adopt without losing her historical identity, and in fact her whole character. But then the German Reformed doctrine of the sacraments is as different from that of Rome as day is from night, and no sensible, honest man, conscious of this real and essential difference, should be guilty of uttering such an accusation. For let us examine the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, and see how the German Reformed Church agrees with it.
1. The Romish Church teaches a continual “unbloody sacrifice" of Christ in the Mass. Our doctrine rejects this in toto.
2. She teaches transubstantiation, or a transformation of the elements into the body and blood of Christ, by the consecration of the priest. Our Church rejects this in toto.
3. She teaches the communion under one form, depriving the laity of the cup, (communio sub una.) We consider this as contrary to Scripture and reason.
4. She teaches a celebration of the sacrament without the participation or activity of the congregation, which is called the quiet mass, (missa solitaria.) Our Church holds that the Lord's Supper has been instituted because there was a congregation to partake of it, and that without this participation the Sacrament must lose its character as a means of grace.
Hence we can never agree with such doctrine.
5. She teaches Mass adoration, worshipping the consecrated wafer. We consider this idolatrous and reject it in toto !
6. In her Mass for the dead she teaches that the Lord's Supper is useful for bodily evils, -and that the elements remain the body and blood of Christ also beyond the participation, without being used. All this we reject as unscriptural and absurd.
7. She teaches that the consecrated wafer must be carried about as a show, and that the partaking of the Lord's Supper is meritorious without faith, (ex opere operato.) We reject this as a pernicious invention, and a direct contradiction of divine truth.
8. Lastly, she teaches the use of a dead language, and makes auricular confession binding. This also we reject as a dangerous error.
Now I ask in the name of truth, where is there the least shadow of reason to charge our Church with Romanism. Brethren in the German Reformed faith! study the doctrine of your Church in its Scriptural purity and soundness, and its essential difference from that of Rome; then you will certainly feel at ease in your beloved Zion; for she is the Lord's abode, and in his presence there is no danger ! Cincinnati, Ohio.
H. R. [Ta be continued.]
ART. II.-THE PERSON OF CHRIST.
AN EXPOSITION OF JOHN 6: 63.
" The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they
Thus spake the Saviour. They are words which will be regarded as truly precious by all who are qualified, by an earnest habit of thought and piety, to penetrate and understand them. In reading over the inspired pages of divine revelation, which contain the same infinite variety as we behold in nature, it is not unfrequent that we meet with passages of a peculiarly emphatic character, like the present. Whenever we do so, we ought to pause, and give ourselves time for serious reflection and meditation. These are words that fell directly from the Saviour's lips, trembling with his divinity. What passage can be said to carry with it a more solemn emphasis : “The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” What, at the same time, could be more perfect in its connection, and complete in itself.
Christ had been teaching the people the nature of eternal life under the figure of bread: that this life, so strongly demanded by our fallen nature, was contained in, and inseperably connected with, his person ; that the prophecy contained in the manna which was given to the children of Israel, in a miraculous way, in the wilderness, constituting a marked evillence of God's merciful concern, in sustaining their natural lives, was completely met and fulfilled in the person of Christ, as the bread of life. He says himself definitely, “I am the bread of life.” And more emphatic still, “ I am that bread of life ;" namely, “everlasting life,” which is received by faith in his person. After making, in this way, his own person the fountain of spiritual and everlasting life, he then proceeds to