A Portraiture of Quakerism Volume Ii Part 19

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The Quakers, lay a great stress upon this circ.u.mstance: for they say, that if Jesus never baptized with water himself, it is a proof that he never intended to erect water-baptism into a Gospel-rite. It is difficult to conceive, they say, that he should have established a Sacrament, and that he should never have administered it. Would he not, on the other hand, if his own baptism had been that of water, have begun his ministry by baptizing his own disciples, notwithstanding they had previously been, baptized by John? But he not only never baptized, _but it is no where_ recorded of him, that he ordered his disciples to baptize "with water."[181] He once ordered a leper to go to the priest, and to offer the gift for his cleansings. At another time[182], he ordered a blind man to go and wash in the pool of Siloam; but he never ordered any one to go and be baptized with water. On the other hand, it is said by the Quakers, that he dearly intimated to three of his disciples, at the transfiguration, that the dispensations of Moses and John were to pa.s.s away; and that he taught himself, "that the kingdom of G.o.d cometh not with observation;" or, that it consisted not in those outward and lifeless ordinances, in which many of those to whom he addressed himself placed the essence of their religion.

[Footnote 181: Mat. 8.4.]

[Footnote 182: John 9.7]



_Supper of the Lord--Two such suppers, one enjoined by Moses, the other by Jesus Christ--The former called the Pa.s.sover--Original manner of its celebration--The use of bread and wine added to it--Those long in use when Jews Christ celebrated it--Since his time, alterations made in this supper by the Jews--But bread and wine still continued to be component parts of it, and continue so to the present day--Modern manner of the celebration of it._

There are two suppers of the Lord recorded in the Scriptures; the first enjoined by Moses, and the second by Jesus Christ.

The first is called the Supper of the Lord, because it was the last supper which Jesus Christ partic.i.p.ated with his disciples, or which the Lord and master celebrated with them in commemoration of the pa.s.sover.

And it may not improperly be called the Supper of the Lord on another account, because it was the supper which the lord and master of every Jewish family celebrated, on the same festival, in his own house.

This supper was distinguished, at the time alluded to, by the name of the Pa.s.sover Supper. The object of the inst.i.tution of it was to commemorate the event of the Lord pa.s.sing over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered the former from their hard and oppressive bondage.

The directions of Moses concerning this festival were short, but precise.

On the fourteenth day of the first month, called Nissan, the Jews were to kill a lamb in the evening. It was to be eaten in the same evening, roasted with fire, and the whole of it was to be eaten, or the remains of it to be consumed with fire before morning. They were to eat it with loins girded, with their shoes on their feet, and with their staves in their hands, and to eat it in haste. The bread which they were to eat, was to be unleavened, all of it, and for seven days. There was to be no leaven in their houses during that time. Bitter herbs also were to be used at this feast. And none who were uncirc.u.mcised were allowed to partake of it.

This was the simple manner in which the pa.s.sover, and the feast of unleavened bread, which was included in it, were first celebrated. But as the pa.s.sover, in the age following its inst.i.tution, was not to be killed and eaten in any other place than where the Lord chose to fix his name, which was afterwards at Jerusalem, it was suspended for a time.

The Jews, however, retained the festival of unleavened bread, wherever they dwelt. At this last feast, in process of time, they added the use of wine to the use of bread. The introduction of the wine was followed by the introduction of new customs. The Lord or master of the feast used to break the bread, and to bless it, saying, "Blessed be thou, O Lord, who givest us the fruits of the earth." He used to take the cup, which contained the wine, and bless it also: "Blessed be thou, O Lord, who givest us the fruit of the vine." The bread was twice blessed upon this occasion, and given once to every individual at the feast. But the cup was handed round three times to the guests. During the intervals between the blessing and the taking of the bread and of the wine, the company acknowledged the deliverance of their ancestors from the Egyptian bondage; they lamented their present state; they confessed their sense of the justice of G.o.d in their punishment; and they expressed their hope of his mercy from his former kind dealings and gracious promises.

In process of time, when the Jews were fixed at Jerusalem, they revived the celebration of the pa.s.sover, and as the feast of unleavened bread was connected with it, they added the customs of the latter, and blended the eating of the lamb and the use of the bread and wine, and several accompaniments of consecration, into one ceremony. The bread therefore and the wine had been long in use as const.i.tuent parts of the pa.s.sover-supper, and indeed of all the solemn feasts of the Jews, when Jesus Christ took upon himself, as master of his own family of disciples, to celebrate it. When he celebrated it, he did as the master of every Jewish family did at that time. He took bread, and blessed, and broke, and gave to his disciples. He took the cup of wine, and gave it to them also. But he conducted himself differently from others in one respect, for he compared the bread of the pa.s.sover to his own body, and the wine to his own blood, and led the attention of his disciples from the old object of the pa.s.sover, or deliverance from Egyptian bondage, to a new one, or deliverance from sin.

Since the time of our Saviour, we find that the Jews, who have been dispersed in various parts of the world, have made alterations in this supper: but all of them have concurred in retaining the bread and wine as component parts of it. This will be seen by describing the manner in which it is celebrated at the present day.

On the fourteenth day of the month Nissan, the first-born son of every family fasts, because the first-born in Egypt were smitten on that night. A table is then set out, and covered with a cloth. On the middle of it is placed a large dish, which is covered with a napkin. A large pa.s.sover cake of unleavened bread, distinguished by marks, and denominated "_Israelite_," is then laid upon this napkin. Another, with different marks, but denominated "_Levite_," is laid upon the first: and a third, differently marked, and denominated "_Priest_," is laid upon the second. Upon this again a large dish is placed, and in this dish is a shank bone of a shoulder of lamb, with a small matter of meat on it, which is burnt quite brown on the fire. This is instead of the lamb roasted with fire. Near this is an egg, roasted hard in hot ashes, that it may not be broken, to express the totality of the lamb. There is also placed on the table a small quant.i.ty of raw charvil instead of the bitter herbs ordered; also a cup with salt water, in remembrance of the sea crossed over after that repast; also a stick of horse radish with its green top to it, to represent the bitter labour that made the eyes of their ancestors water in slavery; and a couple of round b.a.l.l.s, made of bitter almonds pounded with apples, to represent their labour in lime and brinks. The seat or couch of the master is prepared at the head of the table, and raised with pillows, to represent the masterly authority of which the Jews were deprived in bondage. The meanest of the servants are seated at the table for two nights with their masters, mistresses, and superiors, to denote that they were all equally slaves in Egypt, and that all ought to give the same ceremonial thanks for their redemption.

Cups also are prepared for the wine, of which each person must drink four in the course of the ceremony. One cup extraordinary is set on the table for Elias, which is drank by the youngest in his stead.

All things having been thus prepared, the guests wash their hands, and seat themselves at table. The master of the family, soon after this, _takes his cup of wine in his right hand_, and the rest at the table doing the same, he says, together with all the others, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our G.o.d, King of the Universe, who hast created the fruit of the vine." This is followed by a. thanksgiving for the inst.i.tution of the pa.s.sover. _Then the cup of wine is drank by all_. Afterwards the master of the family says, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our G.o.d, King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us with thy commandments, and commanded us to cleanse our hands."

Then the master of the family desires the guests to partake of the charvil dipped in salt water, which he gives them with an appropriate blessing. He makes them touch also the dish, containing the egg and shank bone of the lamb, and repeat with him a formula of words suited to the subject. He then takes _the second cup of wine_, and uses words in conjunction with the rest, expressive of the great difference between this and any other night. After this, copious remarks follow on the inst.i.tution of the pa.s.sover. Then follow queries and answers of the rabbis on this subject: then historical accounts of the Jews: then the fifteen acts of the goodness of G.o.d to the Jewish nation, which they make out thus:--He led the Jews out of Egypt: he punished the Egyptians: he executed judgment on their G.o.ds: he slew their first-born: he gave the Jews wealth: he divided the sea for them: he made them pa.s.s through it as on dry land: he drowned the Egyptians in the same: he gave food to the Jews for forty years in the wilderness; he fed them with manna: he gave them the sabbath: he brought them to Mount Sinai: he gave them the law: he brought them to the Laud of Promise: he built the Temple.

When these acts of the goodness of G.o.d, with additional remarks on the pa.s.sover out of Rabbi Gamaliel, have been recited, all the guests touch the dish which contains the three cakes of bread before mentioned, and say: "This sort of unleavened bread, which we eat, is because there was not sufficient time for the dough of our ancestors to rise, until the blessed Lord, the King of Kings, did reveal himself to redeem them, as it is written. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough, which they brought forth out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry; neither had they prepared for themselves any victuals." After this they touch the horse-radish and join in a narration on the subject of their bondage. Then they take _their third cup of wine_, and p.r.o.nounce a formula of adoration and praise, accompanied with blessings and thanksgivings, in allusion to the historical part of the pa.s.sover. After this the master of the family washes his hands and says, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our G.o.d, King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us with thy Commandments, and commanded us to cleanse our hands." He then breaks the _uppermost cake of bread_ in the dish, and says, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our G.o.d, King of the Universe, who hast brought forth bread from the earth." Then he takes _half of another cake of bread, and breaks it_, and says, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our G.o.d, King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us with thy commandments, and commanded us to eat the unleavened bread."

_Then he gives every one at the table of each of the two cakes of bread that are broken_, and every one repeats audibly the two last blessings.

He then takes the green top from the horse-radish, and puts on the b.a.l.l.s before mentioned, and p.r.o.nounces a blessing. He then puts these into the hands of the guests, and they p.r.o.nounce the same. After this, he cuts the bottom cake, and puts a piece of it upon a piece of horse-radish, and p.r.o.nounces a formula of words, in allusion to an historical fact.

These ceremonies having been thus completed, the guests sup.

After supper, a long grace is said. Then the _fourth cup_ is filled. A long prayer follows, on the subject of creation. This is again followed by a hymn, enumerating and specifying the twelve wonders which G.o.d did at midnight. Another hymn succeeds, specifying the fifteen great works which G.o.d did at different times, both on the night, and on the day, of the pa.s.sover. Then follows a prayer in praise of G.o.d, in which a desire is expressed, that they may again he brought to Jerusalem. Then follows a blessing on the fourth cup which is taken; after which another hymn is sung, in which the a.s.sistance of the Almighty is invoked for the rebuilding of the temple. This hymn is followed by thirteen canticles, enumerating thirteen remarkable things belonging to the Jews, soon after which the ceremony ends.

This is the manner, or nearly the manner, in which the pa.s.sover is now celebrated by the Jews. The bread is still continued to be blessed, and broken, and divided, and the cup to be blessed and handed round among the guests. And this is done, whether they live in Asia, or in Europe, or in any other part of the known world.


_Second Supper is that enjoined by Jesus at Capernaum--It consists of bread from Heaven--or of the flesh and blood of Christ--But these not of a material nature, like the pa.s.sover-bread, or corporeal part of Jesus--but wholly of a spiritual--Those who receive it, are spiritually nourished by it, and may be said to sup with Christ--This supper supported the Patriarchs--and must be taken by all Christians--Various ways in which this supper may be enjoyed_.

The second supper recorded in the scriptures, in which bread, and the body, and blood of Christ, are mentioned, is that which was enjoined by Jesus, when he addressed the mult.i.tude at Capernaum. Of this supper, the following account may be given:

[183] "Labour not, says he to the mult.i.tude, for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you."

[Footnote 183: John 6. 27.]

A little farther on, in the same chapter, when the Jews required a sign from heaven, (such as when Moses gave their ancestors manna in the wilderness,) in order that they might believe on him, he addressed them thus: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven: but my father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of G.o.d is he that cometh down from heaven, and giveth light unto the world."

Then said they unto him, "Lord, evermore give us this bread." And Jesus said unto them, "I am the bread of life. He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth in me, shall never thirst."

It appears, that in the course of these and other words that were spoken upon this occasion, the Jews took offence at Jesus Christ, because he said, he was the bread that came down from heaven; for they knew he was the son of Joseph, and they knew both his father and his mother. Jesus therefore directed to them the following observations:

"I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever. And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." The Jews, therefore, strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living father hath sent me, and I live by the father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth of this bread, shall live forever."

As the Jews were still unable to comprehend the meaning of his words, which they discovered by murmuring and p.r.o.nouncing them to be hard sayings, Jesus Christ closes his address to them in the following words: "It is the spirit that quickeneth. The flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

It appears from hence, according to the Quakers, that Jesus Christ, in mentioning the loaves, took occasion to spiritualize, as he did on all other fit occasions, and to direct the attention of his followers from natural to spiritual food, or from the food that perisheth, to that which giveth eternal life.

Jesus Christ calls himself upon this occasion the living bread. He says that this bread is his flesh, and that this flesh is meat indeed. The first conclusion which the Quakers deduce on this subject, is, that this bread, or this flesh and blood, or this meat, which he recommends to his followers, and which he also declares to be himself, is not of a material nature. It is not, as he himself says, like the ordinary meat that perisheth, nor like the outward manna, which the Jews ate in the wilderness for their bodily refreshment. It cannot therefore be common bread, nor such bread as the jews ate at their pa.s.sover, nor any bread or meat ordered to be eaten on any public occasion.

Neither can this flesh or this bread be, as some have imagined, the material flesh or body of Jesus. For first, this latter body was born of the virgin Mary; whereas the other is described as having come down from heaven. Secondly, because, when the Jews said, "How can this man give us his flesh?" Jesus replied, "It is the spirit that quickeneth. The flesh profiteth nothing;" that is, material flesh and blood, such as mine is, cannot profit any thing in the way of quickening; or cannot so profit as to give life eternal. This is only the work of the spirit. And he adds, "the words I have spoken to you, they are spirit, and they are life."

This bread then, or this body, is of a spiritual nature. It is of a spiritual nature, because it not only giveth life, but preserveth from death. Manna, on the other hand, supported the Israelites only for a time, and they died. Common bread and flesh nourish the body for a time, when it dies and perishes; but it is said of those who feed upon this food, that they shall never die. This bread, or body, must be spiritual again, because the bodies of men, according to their present organization, cannot be kept for ever alive; but their souls may. But the souls of men can receive no nourishment from ordinary meat and drink, that they should be kept alive, but from that which is spiritual only. It must be spiritual again, because Jesus Christ describes it as having come down from heaven.

The last conclusion which the Quakers draw from the words of our Saviour on this occasion, is, that a spiritual partic.i.p.ation of the body and blood of Christ is such an essential of Christianity, that no person who does not partake of them, can be considered to be a Christian; "for except a man eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, he has no life in him."

The Quakers therefore believe, that this address of Jesus Christ to his followers near Capernaum, relates wholly to the necessity of the souls of men being fed and nourished by that food, which it is alone capable of receiving, namely, that which is of a spiritual nature, and which comes from above. This food is the spirit of G.o.d; or, in the language of the Quakers, it is Christ. It is that celestial principle, which gives life and light to as many as receive it and believe in it. It is that spiritual principle, which was in the beginning of the world, and which afterwards took flesh. And those who receive it, are spiritually nourished by it, and may be said to sup with Christ; for he himself says, [184] "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

[Footnote 184: Rev. 3. 20.]

This supper which Jesus Christ enjoins, is that heavenly manna on which the Patriarchs feasted, before his appearance in the flesh, and by which their inward man became nourished; so that some of them were said to have walked with G.o.d; for those, according to St. Paul, [185] "did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ."

[Footnote 185: 1 Cor. 10.3.4.]

This supper is also that "daily bread," since his appearance in the flesh; or, as the old Latin translation has it, it is that supersubstantial bread, which Christians are desired to pray for in the Lord's prayer; that bread, which, according to good commentators, is above all substance, and above all created things. For this bread fills and satisfies. By extinguishing all carnal desires, it leaves neither hunger nor thirst after worldly things. It redeems from the pollutions of sin. It so quickens as to raise from death to life, and it gives therefore to man a sort of new and divine nature, so that he can dwell in Christ and Christ in him.

This supper, which consists of this manna, or bread, or of this flesh and blood, may be enjoyed by Christians in various ways. It may be enjoyed by them in pious meditations on the Divine Being, in which the soul of man may have communion with the spirit of G.o.d, so that every meditation may afford it a salutary supper, or a celestial feast. It may be enjoyed by them when they wait upon G.o.d in silence, or retire into the light of the Lord, and receive those divine impressions which quicken and spiritualize the internal man. It may be enjoyed by them in all their several acts of obedience to the words and doctrines of our Saviour. Thus may men everyday, nay, every hour, keep a communion at the Lord's table, or communicate, or sup, with Christ.


_The question then is, whether Jesus Christ inst.i.tuted any new supper, distinct from that of the pa.s.sover, (and which was to render null and void that enjoined at Capernaum) to be observed as a ceremonial by Christians--Quakers say, that no such inst.i.tution can be collected from the accounts of Matthew, or of Mark, or of John--The silence of the latter peculiarly impressive in the present case._

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A Portraiture of Quakerism Volume Ii Part 19 summary

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