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here is a love large enough to go round the heavens, and the heaven of heavens! Who ever loved after this rate, to lay down his life for enemies! O love unutterable and inconceivable! How glorious is my love in his red garments! Sometimes the fruits of his death are there gloriously displayed; even his satisfaction for sin, and the purchase his blood made of the eternal inheritance: and this begets thankfulness and confidence in the soul. Christ is dead, and his death hath satisfied for my sin. Christ is dead, therefore my soul shall never die. Who shall separate me from the love of God? These are the fruits, and this is the nature of that remembrance of Christ here spoken of.
[In some of the preceding pages we have attempted to point out the progress of error in the first ages of the Christian hurch on the subject of infant baptism; and as soon as this became general, and the notion, that the sacraments were necessary to salvation, prevailed in the churches, the custom of administering this ordinance to infants was immediately adopted; and it is not a little remarkable, that this error originated precisely in the same way as that of infant baptism; namely, from a mistaken interpretation of those words of our Lord, John vi. 53. " Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you:"-as may be seen by the following authors:
We see a practice that was very ancient, and that continued very long, which arose out of the exposition of those words, John vi, 53. by which infants were made partakers of the eucharist.
Infant communicating was a catholic doctrine. Herein all the fathers agreed; who, misunderstanding and misapplying Christ's words, John vi. 53. held that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was to be administered to infants and children, and that it was necessary for them to their salvation; accordingly they made them partakers of that ordinance. Dr. John Edwards.
The ancient church, for a long time, gave the sacred symbols of
the holy supper to infants; being led to it from a false interpreta tion of our Lord's words, John vi. 53. compared wiith another deHeideggerus. claration of the same divine teacher, John iii. 5.
It appears by many and undoubted testimonies, that this holy rite (the Lord's Supper) was looked upon as essential to salvation; and when this is duly considered, we shall be less disposed to censure, as erroneous, the opinion of those who have affirmed that the Lord's Supper was administered to infants during the third century.
St. Augustine, I am sure, held the communicating of infants as much an apostolic tradition as the baptizing of them. The eucharist's necessity for infants was taught by the consent of the eminent fathers of some ages, without any opposition from any of their con temporaries; and was delivered by them, not as doctors, but as witnesses; not as their opinion, but as apostolic tradition.
It is notorious from antiquity, that the eucharist was given to infants. This custom, anciently received, afterward prevailed to such a degree, especially in the time of Charles the Great, that the holy supper was given to infants, not only in the public assembly after baptism, or at other times when the church used to assemble for the holy communion; but some of the bread of the sacred sup per was reserved, to be given to such infants as were sick, as well as to adults. Ansegisus, Abbot of Liege, who recites a canon of the same Charles, published on this account, gives us a strong testimony of it. For the words of the canon are these: "Let a pres byter have the eucharist always ready, that when any person is sick, or an infant is afflicted, he may immediately give it him, that he die
not without the communion.
That which I conceive most probable on the whole matter is, That in Cyprian's time, the people of the church of Carthage did oftentime bring their children younger than ordinary to the communion; that in St. Austin's and Innocent's time it was in the western parts given to mere infants; and that this continued from that time
for about six hundred years.
Because the eucharist was given to adult catechumens when they were washed with holy baptism, without any space of time intervening, this also was done to infants, after Pædo-baptism was introduced. Salmasius. In Booth.
It is manifest that in the ancient church it was usual to give the eucharist to infants; which custom arose about the third century, and continued in the Western church to the beginning of the twelfth century, as Quenstedius shows. This custom seems to have prevailed first in the African church, and to have been propagated thence to other churches in the West. Certainly, we no where find it more frequently mentioned than in the writings of Cyprian, of Austin, and of Paulinus. The error seems to have arisen from a false opinion concerning the absolute necessity of the eucharist: and it has been observed by learned men, that this arose from the words of Christ, John vi. 53, not being well understood. Buddeus. Infants, in the third century, were generally admitted to baptism and the Lord's Supper. Venema.
It is remarkable that in all Christian antiquity we always find that communion in the Lord's supper immediately followed baptism. And no such thing occurs, as that of any person having a right to one of these ordinances, and not to the other. There is no express mention made of infant baptism before this (in Cyprian) of infant communion; and no objection can be made to this custom, but what may with equal force be made to the custom of baptizing infants. Dr. Priestley.
This practice continued for about four hundred years; namely, from the latter end of the second century until the time of Gregory the Great, about the year 600; when, by the art and cunning of the priests, immersion was changed to sprinkling, and the eucharist to transubstantiation. "For though it was confessed, the communion would do them benefit, yet it was denied to them when the doctrine of transubstantiation entered; upon pretence lest, by puking up the holy symbols, the sacrament should be dishonoured."*]
* Bishop Taylor.
We shall now presume “Christian” to be a member of some christian church, that he has joined himself to the standard of the Lord and to his people; he must, therefore, now be careful to maintain good works.
That this is an essential link of our chain, none I believe will deny; the only dispute is, to what part of the chain it belongs. Thousands of volumes have been written upon this subject, and many arguments advanced; but I cannot force it into any other part of the chain than where I have placed it; I know that many put it before the 6th link, and make it the cause, and the 6th link the effect; yet I cannot make it fit there; but when I put it in this part of the christian history, it works well and smooth; and is, to the sight, the most beautiful link of the chain.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. ii. 10,
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good
works. Tit. ji. 14.
And these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works: these things are good and profitable unto men. Titus iii. 8.
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.
James ii. 17.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 2 Pet. i. 4-9.
Good works intend all that diversity of christian excellencies, which belong to every distinct branch of practical religion; and whose goodness is not determinable by the mere opus operatum, but by the principle from which, the spirit in which, and the end to which, any given action of piety or virtue is performed.
Temple of Truth.
The case of Abraham, of whom St. Paul asserts, that "he believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," is here brought by St. James, as an instance of one, who was justified by works, "Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou (and wonderful it is that there should be any one who does not see) how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" And So, his works being all wrought through faith, the scripture was still fulfilled, which saith," Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness;" his faith, working by love, was ac cepted in Christ Jesus, according to the terms of that gospel, which "the scripture preached before unto him." Thus, in this instance of the father of the faithful, as in a common centre, are the doctrines of both apostles met. One says, a man is justified by faith working; the other, by working faith: and this is really and truly all the difference between them. What pity, then, is it, that so many volumes should have been written, to the infinite vexation and disturbance of the church upon the question, Whether a man is just: faith or works, seeing they are two essential parts of the same thing! The body and the spirit make the man: faith and work make the Christian. "Fo as the body without the spirit is dead (and therefore but half the man); so faith without works is dead also;" (and therefore but half the Christian), Nor can any son of Abraham be justified otherwise than his father is declared to have been. "Faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect." Bishop Horne.