Being A Review Of “Church Doctrine, Bible Truth,” By The Rev. M. S. Sadler
There are many things I accept in this book, truths that the evangelical world have, from circumstances, lost, or which have been thrown by them into the background. I shall refer to some of the chief ones here.
First, I believe the Person of the Lord has lost the place—at least in revival preaching—it ought to have, and it makes that preaching, though I doubt not often blessed, seriously defective. Salvation by the love of God to sinners—surely a blessed truth— is preached rather than Christ. This I have long felt and remarked. Still, Mr. Sadler is all wrong about it, as I shall shew. He leaves out the salvation—rather a serious defect, and certainly unscriptural.
Secondly, I have no doubt that worship, with the Lord’s supper as the great and characterising centre of it, and not preaching, is the great object of Christians assembling themselves together. Preaching and teaching is the work of individuals, and goes on pari passu. But it is not the assembly’s (and church simply means assembly) part to teach or set forth the gospel, but the apostle’s, evangelist’s, or whoever is able. The assembly is taught, and confesses the truth.
Thirdly, going to heaven—an unscriptural expression—has displaced in the evangelical mind the coming of the Lord and resurrection. But, for all that, Mr. Sadler has wholly missed the mark here too. He has read the Scriptures enough to see the defects of the evangelical school, but has not the faith of God’s elect so as to know the truth either as to the gospel or the church. Moreover, as to church history, his representation of it—I do not mean intentionally—is far away from the truth. He must have read it with a very prejudiced eye.
I must first take notice of his statements as to the Gospels in a few words. Here, as to what is evidently vital, his statements are quite unfounded. “Gospel” is not applied, as he states, exclusively to the announcement of certain events occurring at a particular time in the history of the world. “Gospel” means simply glad tidings, whatsoever they are. The verb is applied to the good news Timothy brought of the Thessalonians to Paul; 1 Thess. 3:6. As to Mark, the incarnation and birth of Christ form no part of what he calls the Gospels. Further, the gospel of the kingdom being at hand, which above all is called the gospel in the four Gospels, is not included in Mr. Sadler’s list, and could not subsist, as chiefly there spoken of, till all the events which are were past. All that is peculiarly Paul’s gospel (though surely recognising all) is outside all the events contained in Mr. Sadler’s list. It did not begin, in fact and in doctrine, till Jesus was glorified.
Paul calls it the gospel of the glory, and this is vital to his mission, and that which connected it with the assembly or church, which he alone speaks of in his teaching as formed on earth, and speaks of as a distinct and separate ministry; and he is specially the apostle of the Gentiles. Nor even does what is said by Mr. Sadler as to the beginning of Romans give any true idea of Paul’s statement as a whole there, nor even of that part of it which Mr. Sadler does refer to. I think it of great moment to note, as I have often done in public and in private, how the apostle puts Christ personally forward here as the great subject of the gospel; but Mr. Sadler’s use of this fact is partial and false. As “made of the seed of David according to the flesh,” we have nothing to do with Christ. He was “a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers”: the Gentiles stand on other ground. They “glorify God for his mercy,” having no promises, though prophecies spoke of them. As Son of David Christ was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and could not take the children’s bread and cast it to dogs. He declares, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.”
As God manifest in the flesh, He is the object of infinite delight to the believing soul—its food, as the bread come down from heaven; and when we have found peace through the divine commentaries of the apostle on the value of His work3 the soul returns to the Gospels to feed on the bread come down from heaven. But even as to this, though souls may be drawn by the adorable grace manifested in His life, yet, till they eat His flesh and drink His blood, they have no life in them to feed on Him as bread come down from heaven. But, to shew how little foundation there is for this statement of Mr. Sadler, the meaning he ascribes to” gospel “is not the meaning of it in Mark. In the same chapter as that to which Mr. Sadler refers, the evangelist says, “Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel [the glad tidings] of the kingdom, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” The preaching is the same; Matthew 4:12, 23. Such was the constant tenor of Christ’s preaching.
The twelve, consequently, were sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. So, in Luke 4:18-21, He preached the fulfilment of promise, not His death for our sins, or resurrection; and so, verse 43, He preaches the kingdom of God. In chapter 9:2 He sends them to preach the kingdom of God. As regards His death and resurrection, we read that, from the time immediately preceding the transfiguration, He forbade them strongly to say any more that He was the Christ; and so far from preaching His death, or that being the gospel then set forth, we find that, when He told them of it prophetically, they could not bear to hear of it. Yet His death and resurrection, now they are accomplished, are become the great subject of testimony (1 Cor. 15:3, 4), and that for our sins. Christ according to the flesh (that is, as presented to the Jews as their Messiah, come according to promise) Paul knew no more; 2 Cor. 5:16. See Matthew 16:20, 21; Mark 9:31; Luke 9:21, 22.
I turn to what is said of it in Romans. We have seen that Paul begins with the double character of Christ, known as Son of David according to the flesh, and Son of God by resurrection. But Mr. Sadler leaves out that Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, or that it was the power of God to salvation, because the righteousness of God was revealed in it (Rom. 1:16, 17); and that he largely sets forth (chap. 3:19-26) how Christ was set forth a propitiation through faith in His blood—how, further (chap. 4:25), He was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification. I believe the gospel will have power in the measure in which it is stated as facts, and I bless God that it comes in the shape of facts, because the poorest can understand it. But what it is for us is spoken of. God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The shepherd seeks the sheep, the woman the piece of money, the father has his joy in recovering the prodigal.
It is not merely objective facts concerning Christ, but God’s disposition towards us as displayed in them, not merely that Christ was raised but raised for our justification; not merely that God’s Son came, but that God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have eternal life. It is not exclusively applied to the announcement of certain events; it is God’s dealing with us revealed in them, and our conscience and heart directly dealt with by it. God was in Christ. Yet this is not the way the ministry of the gospel is put, but “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” This was Paul’s estimate of the gospel history, and then of his own gospel when Christ had died, that, as though God did beseech by us, we beseech in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God. In the passage quoted by Mr. Sadler from 1 Corinthians 15, it is not that Christ died, “a certain event occurring,” but Christ died for our sins; the purpose and grace of God to us as sinners is stated.
Mr. Sadler’s account, then, of the gospel in the New Testament is a totally false one as to every part of the New Testament, and falsifies the whole bearing of it, and the way God deals with man in it. And this is connected with his whole system. His gospel is a system of facts, contemplated by persons ecclesiastically born of God in baptism. The gospel in Scripture is the expression in facts, and the public declaration by the Holy Ghost (sent down when the facts were accomplished, and Christ, having by Himself made the purgation of our sins, had sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens), of what God is in His love to sinners, and of how they might be righteous before Him through faith in the work accomplished by the Saviour. The gospel is addressed to sinners in the attractive power of grace. “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Mr. Sadler’s gospel, whether during the lifetime of Christ or after His death, is not what Scripture makes it. With him it is a history for saints: the Scriptures make it glad tidings for sinners. The facts may be the same, and these facts we have to announce; but he announces them, to those whom he deceives as to their state (calling them saints when they know they are not), as objects of contemplation, while the scripture gospel presents them to sinners as what they need, and the expression of God’s love to them.
“The gospel,” says Mr. Sadler, “does not appear in Scripture under the aspect of certain dealings of God with the individual soul apart from its fellow-souls. It does appear as certain events, or outward facts,” etc. We have seen how the gospel is stated in Scripture. Glad tidings are hardly actual operations in individual souls, but such dealings are as much presented in Scripture as pertaining to the gospel, as the blessed facts concerning the Lord. “Except a man be born again” is not exactly glad tidings, but it is with this truth the Lord meets Nicodemus. “In the day,” says Paul, “when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.” The whole Epistle to the Ephesians is occupied with what Mr. Sadler says is not the gospel, but in a large part is dealing with individual souls: and he is wholly mistaken in saying, as he does, that it is only of the church. The church relationship with Christ only comes in at the end of chapter i; the previous part of the chapter is occupied with individuals and their relationship with the Father, and if it be not gospel, I know not what it is. The whole of the doctrinal part of the Romans—and I suppose there is some gospel there—is occupied exclusively with individual souls, and the church does not come in at all.
The church is not found in the Romans, save in the hortatory part (chap. 12), and for the plain reason that responsibility is individual, conscience individual, justification individual, judgment individual. 1 Corinthians 1, where Paul says he was sent to preach the gospel, is individual. To whom did Paul preach the gospel? to sinners standing on individual responsibility, or to the church? The answer to this will at once shew, not only the falseness, but the absurdity, of Mr. Sadler’s statement. See 2 Corinthians 2:12-16: this was preaching the gospel, and nothing could be more peremptorily individual, and dealing with individual souls. We have only to go to Scripture times to learn the absurdity of the whole system. The gospel is for responsible sinners, not for the church, however needed for what Mr. Sadler calls the church now, as it surely is, because they are largely unconverted sinners, though far more responsible sinners than the heathen, but of the church anon.
Read 2 Corinthians 4:14: we have there “the glorious gospel,” or rather the gospel of the glory. Paul fancied he was by manifestation of lie truth commending himself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. He had not had churchmen to instruct him, it is true. Quite true, he spoke of the death, resurrection, and glory of the Lord Jesus in his gospel. This assuredly is not what I am opposing, but that he spoke of them only as events and outward facts, apart from dealing with the individual soul. That is, what Mr. Sadler says about it is wholly and entirely false; and I repeat, this is connected with and involves the whole system. Scripture tells us God of His own will begat us by the word of truth; churchmen tell us it is by baptism. Which am I to believe? This is the question.
I might multiply proofs of what the gospel is as presented in Scripture; what I have given must suffice. Mr. Sadler seeks to prove his statements by the Gospels, forgetting that these are records of Christ’s life and death, and most precious ones for those who believed already (though surely the Holy Ghost may use them to give faith), not preaching the gospel at all. They are memoirs, as called in old times, richly setting forth the Lord Jesus in the different characters in which He came among men, according to the wisdom of the Holy Ghost. He is Son of David, Emmanuel, in Matthew; the Prophet Servant in Mark; the Son of man, in grace, amongst men in Luke; and His whole Person, with the mission of the Holy Ghost, in John.
What little we have of the preaching of the gospel in Acts is altogether the contrary of what Mr. Sadler states. Peter, who never preaches that He is the Son of God, after explaining what Pentecost was, at once charges their individual sin home upon their conscience: You have crucified and slain, God has raised up, Jesus. What was their condition? And they were pricked to the heart, and he tells them, on their urgent demand, what they were to do. It is not a mere outward event, but their act of sin, and God’s having owned Him whom they had slain, so as to act by grace upon their consciences. It was for as many as the Lord their God should call. It was individual, and those that received the word profited by it. It is the same story in Acts 3:13-15, though with a different object.
In Paul’s discourse at Antioch (Acts 13) it is the same thing, verses 38-41 dealing with individual souls. The same principle governs them, verses 46-48. We have no preaching to Gentiles, only we learn that its effect was individual faith. God opened the heart of Lydia; they so spake that they believed; and Paul at Athens preached Jesus and the resurrection. When the jailor asked what he should do to be saved, Paul in his answer knows nothing of Mr. Sadler’s system, but says, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. No thought of Mr. Sadler’s system here, though there can be no doubt he was added to the assembly. As he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, salvation is always individual, never what Mr. Sadler makes it to be. The discourse in Acts 17 is Paul’s apology, not his preaching. Of course the apostles preached Christ, not His incarnation (perhaps, as Acts 10:37, 38, His service as “anointed”), but man’s rejection of Him, and God’s testimony to Him in resurrection, and then whosoever believes shall receive remission of sins. That is, they did not only give many, doubtless all-important, facts, but they did always deal individually with souls. That in reasoning they sought to prove with the Jews that Jesus was the Christ is of course true, but it proves nothing. The commission given in Luke is the one that runs all through the Acts; and this was, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name, which is strictly dealing with the individual soul.
One other point remains to be noticed under this head. The church, we are told, after speaking of these “outward events,” makes provision that this gospel of the kingdom should be set before her children; “she provides for the setting forth of the gospel, under this one scripture aspect, by the arrangement of her yearly round of fast and festival.” We have seen how little true this statement as to the one aspect of the gospel is; but here, assuming the facts of the gospel, a second point arises, the means of communicating it. The church gives a yearly round of fasts and festivals, so that mere outward events may be before the mind without any dealing of God with the individual soul. Such is Mr. Sadler’s approved method, adding a small complement of saints and saints’ days— whether to complete the gospel, or for what other purpose, he does not tell us. He seems to bring it in charily (page 12). Scripture says,” it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe”; but this foolishness of God dealing with the individual soul does not please the wisdom of the church. It has its own way of doing it. It keeps days, and months, and years. They turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which they desire again to be in bondage.
“I am afraid of you,” says the apostle. It was, he tells us, going back to heathenism. And Mr. Sadler, with his knowledge of ecclesiastical history, must know that, except Easter, which was the Jewish Passover, and Pentecost, and perhaps some more recently added saints’ days, the church festivals were deliberately and formally adopted from heathenism. Christians, so-called, would have festivals, and they tacked on Christian names to heathen ones. The great Augustine informs us that “the church “did it, that if they would get drunk (which they did even in the churches), they should do so in honour of saints, not of demons. One of the Gregorys was famous for this, and left only seventeen heathen in his diocese by means of it. And another Gregory, sending another Augustine to England, directed him not to destroy the idol temples, but to turn them into churches; and as the heathens were accustomed to have an anniversary festival to their god, to replace it by one to a saint. It was thus Europe, Africa, and Asia Minor at least were Christianised. Sicily, which in spite of all efforts had remained heathen, as soon as it was decided that Mary was the mother of God at what I must call the disgraceful and infamous general council of Ephesus,68 gave up all her temples to be churches.
It was as easy to worship the mother of God as the mother of the gods. But everywhere drunkenness in honour of the saints, and even in the churches, took the place of drunkenness in honour of demigods, the great Augustine and other fathers being witnesses. Such were festal anniversaries, Christmas having been (and it is still celebrated in heathen countries) the worst of heathen festivals, to celebrate the return of the sun from the winter solstice, without a pretence that Christ was born that day, but as they could not stop the revelry, they put Christ’s birth there. Such, in real fact, is the church’s celebration of anniversaries and saints’ days. This is certain, that the apostle declares that it was a return to heathenism, so that he was afraid his labour was in vain—avowedly turning the great and mighty parts of Christianity, by which God acted on souls, to bring them into blessed and divinely-wrought relationship with Himself, individually and collectively, into certain outward events, or outward facts, and exclusively to their announcement as occurring at particular times. “I am afraid of you.”
In result the gospel is founded on a series of mighty and divine facts, by which, through the foolishness of preaching, God, in the power of the Holy Ghost, does act on individual souls for salvation, and gather them into one. The church system makes of them a set of outward events, historically remembered by anniversaries, Mr. Sadler rejecting the dealing of God in souls by them. According to him these are born, not by the word as Scripture declares, but by a sacrament without any personal faith or operation of the word on their hearts whatever. Of this system I will now speak. The author’s statements are as follows:—
“It may be called the great ‘church’ truth of God’s word; and may be stated somewhat as follows:—
* * * * * *
“This body has always been an outward and visible body known by certain outward and visible marks. Men have always been admitted into this church by a rite or ordinance which betokened God’s special goodwill towards each one of them. This church, or body, has always been governed and instructed by a visible ministry. This church, or body, or family, always has been, and, till the second advent, always will be, a mixed body; that is, it has always consisted of two sets of persons, good and bad, penitent and impenitent, those who realise God’s love, and those who do not.”
Every one of these statements is unfounded. That in Israel and the church there was an assembly, or gathering of individuals, is quite true. Of these we will speak in due time. But it was never God’s plan to save people by joining them together in a body or family, kingdom or church; specially it was not so from Abraham’s time, and men were called of God before. It is false to say they were always admitted by a rite—false to call them all a church—false to say this church or body has always been governed and instructed by a visible ministry— false to say it has always been a mixed body. The statements following are all equally false, some openly absurd.
People are saved, always were, individually, by grace through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and life received from Him, begotten by the word of truth, justified by faith. I admit an outward visible body in Israel and in the church, though in different forms and on different principles. That God has set His manifested blessings in a known place, as Israel or the church, since He raised them up, is true; but in neither is personal salvation by coming into it as a system set up on the earth, though figuratively and formally administered there in Christian times, and, if connected with the personal confession of Christ, then formally received and enjoyed. The church, or assembly of God, has more than one application or aspect, is never the kingdom, has, in its truest sense, privileges other than salvation, and in this sense is distinct from the outward and visible body as it exists at present, though it may be found in it if viewed in a certain aspect. But we must examine the statements.
Abraham is the beginning of the religious institutions of God in the new world, and is the root of the olive-tree of promise. When the world had turned to idolatry (Josh. 24), God called Abram out, and established the promises in his seed. He was the first head of God’s family, as Adam of the sinful one. There was no root of a family of God, as Adam was the root of an evil family, till Abram, though there had been saints. This, then, I recognise. But this did not begin salvation. About one-third of the world’s history had passed away ere Abram was called of God. Abels and Enochs, and surely many others, had been saved before Abram’s time. They were saved, according to Mr. Sadler’s own statement, for he begins with Abram, without family, or church, or nation. Was the salvation different in its nature and its ground then? Were they saved in a different way? If not, the whole statement is without foundation. That, as a rule, manifested saved ones are found, where God has publicly and outwardly called a people amongst that people, is quite true. But that is a very different thing from saving men by joining them together as a body, family, kingdom, or church. Either Mr. Sadler must have two kinds and ways of salvation, or his principle is upon the face of it false. For during a third of the earth’s existence, taking his own date and commencement of this process of saving men by joining them to a body, family, church, or kingdom, there was nothing of the sort to join them to. Mr. Sadler’s system falsifies the nature of salvation.
In the next place the scripture states the contrary of what Mr. Sadler says. It is expressly said of Abraham (Isa. 51:2), “I called him alone, and blessed him.” It is first, with Mr. Sadler, a body, and then a church, as if it was all the same. But the blessing of Abraham was neither in a body nor a church. It was in him, and in his seed, really Christ. The true heavenly promises were made to one Seed only, “and that seed is Christ.” The apostle carefully tells us it was to one. “Now to Abraham were the promises made, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.” “If we are Christ’s, we are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to promise.” Now, that these were in the church, and baptised too, the passage itself shews. I will speak of both, but the promise is exclusively to Christ; Gal. 3:16-29. “All the promises of God are in him, yea: and in him, Amen,” 2 Cor. 1:20.
As to Abraham himself, our immediate subject, men have always, we are told, been admitted into this church by a rite. A church means an assembly, and nothing else. Into the church as formed on earth, an external body, or Christian profession, men were admitted by a rite, and that rite baptism; into the body of Christ, decidedly not. But as to Abraham and his seed according to the flesh, this is wholly a mistake. Righteousness—and I suppose that is the way of being saved— was reckoned to him in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised; Rom. 4:10, 11. That is, Scripture insists on exactly the contrary of what Mr. Sadler teaches. Circumcision was the seal in Abraham of the righteousness of faith, and the formal token of the covenant, according to the title possessed by his family. The title was the being of Abraham’s house. Uncircumcision was a condition of forfeiture: one who was of the seed of Abraham, and who was not circumcised, had broken God’s covenant. Just as if the old man be not put off we have no part in grace, though baptised twenty times.
But though this was the formal covenant token in carrying out the covenant, God was sovereign. Every one actually born in Abraham’s house, or indeed bought with money, was bound to be circumcised. Circumcision was the seal of the promise made to Abraham, and if one of the promised seed was not circumcised, he lost his title; but it was a seal to which he had a title by birth. But, further, the real blessing was by promise: circumcision did not bring into it at all. Abraham’s seed was called in Isaac, and the covenant promises to that seed, not with Ishmael; but Ishmael was circumcised as much as Isaac (vv. 19-21). Nor was, indeed, circumcision, as Mr. Sadler speaks, an ordinance which betokened God’s special goodwill towards the men of the family: the promise did that. It was an imposed condition subsequent, giving a required state, and, if it was neglected, the person was cut off.
Further, this body, or church, we are told, has always been governed and instructed by a visible ministry. Here, note, family is dropped. It would not do. No one instructed Abraham but God immediately, which He did very often. A large part of Genesis, and a very important part, consists of these revelations. When there was a people gathered, there was a priesthood besides Levitical assistants. When the Christian assembly was gathered, there were gifts bestowed in principle on all, though in distinctive efficacy on some, as apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers, and evangelists, and others called miraculous, or which were subsidiary. There were, besides this, local overseers and servants.
The family is now introduced again. This church, or body, or family, “has always been a mixed body.” The family was never a body, nor was the church always a mixed body; for at the beginning the Lord added such as should be saved; afterwards, as manifested on earth, it became such; but first by false brethren creeping in unawares; Jude 4. Israel never was a mixed body. In Israel moreover it was never a question of salvation, but of the place and inheritance of the promises according to the flesh, and none but those who were of the fountain of Israel, or joined by being circumcised, could enjoy them. There was a strict middle wall of partition. Each part of the statement is false.
To pursue the statements of the book: “The covenant of God has always been with this visible church.” God’s covenant was with Abraham, but he was no assembly, which is all that church means, and the promise was confined to his seed— Christ; but God’s church of the New Testament was not revealed then (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:3-11; Col. 1:26): the circumcised alone had part in the blessings. If they were in the covenant of promise, and were not circumcised, they were cut off. Israel subsisted by keeping the middle wall of partition up: this made the church, or the revelation of it, impossible; the church exists consequent on its being thrown down; Eph. 2:11-22. With Israel there was the covenant of the law, or the old covenant, and later, in Jeremiah, the promise of a new one to the same people. Of this covenant we reap the benefit of having it in the spirit, namely, forgiveness of sins, and to be all taught of God, and to know Him. But with the assembly there is no covenant made. The Mediator is come, the blood of the new covenant shed. Israel refused to enter into it; and we, while enjoying the spiritual benefit of it, have, if indeed believers, what is far better—an accomplished salvation, and the Holy Ghost, the Comforter (the witness, present power, and seal of it, and the earnest of the glory that belongs to it) being heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, and this individually.
Our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which we have of God. Of this “the church” knows, perhaps, nothing; but they cannot deny that it is in Scripture, even if they call it fanaticism. They seek to reduce us to the condition of Judaism, but this is not Christianity nor God’s church. He has set Judaism aside to establish it. Even in the lowest aspect of it, He has taken away the first to establish the second. The application of church to Israel in the Christian sense (for the word merely means assembly), that is, as the body of Christ or the habitation of God through the Spirit, is without the slightest foundation in Scripture. Nay, more, it contradicts its clearest and most important principles in reference to this subject. Every principle of the one system is in direct contrast with those of the other, save that both belong to God. What the church is I shall consider presently.
“The word of God,” we are next told, “has always been addressed to this outward visible body.” The Epistles, where addressed to churches, were so no doubt, but all composing churches were held to be really saints. But to say “the word of God has,” etc., shews only what a mist of their own raising these people are living in. Paul’s gospel, he specially declares, was to every creature under heaven; I suppose that was the word of God. In Mark we read, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” And Paul, in the passage quoted (Col. 1), carefully distinguishes his being a minister of the gospel, and a minister of the church to fulfil or complete the word of God; and here was one contrast between Israel and the church. Israel had no such commission. It was a nation; and those of the fountain of Jacob had the word and the promises, and there was no word of God to others, but a law and prophets to them. God has raised up a ministry in Christianity because it is grace to sinners, wherever they are.
Before I proceed further to examine Mr. Sadler’s views of the church, I will, because of its importance to souls, examine definitely and more at length whether salvation is individual. The church, to which I attach the greatest possible importance, I will examine fully; but salvation is individual. If there was but one saved person in the world, he would be saved as men are now; but he could not be an assembly. When the Lord says, “Ye must be born again,” he speaks necessarily and clearly of individuals. Whether it be by baptism, we will inquire just now, but it is individual. “So is every one that is born of the Spirit” is individual. “The wind bloweth where it listeth.” At the end of chapter 3, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” The promise of living water in John 4 is individual. “The Son quickeneth whom he will” in John 5 is individual. The promise in John 6:40 is individual, and whatever the eating means (and most certainly it is not die Lord’s supper69), it is individual, as verses 35,44 plainly shew. Verse 47 is conclusive as to individual salvation. John 7 is individual, as verses 37, 38. So are chapters 9; 10 (vv. 27, 28) is as clear as words can make it; and this even if the sheep are all scattered by Satan. “Catcheth,” in verse 12, and “plucketh,” in verse 28, are the same word. Chapter 11:25, 26 is individual.
I might quote other passages; but the truth is that all John’s writings are strictly individual. The church is never introduced as a truth in them at all—not even in chapter 17, which seems most like it. It does not speak of the assembly or church, but of the unitedness of the individuals in grace. There is indeed a, threefold unity, of the eleven disciples, of those believing through their word, and of all Christians in glory. It may perhaps surprise some, that in the Epistles the church is never spoken of as a body formed on earth by any besides Paul.
In the Acts, Peter’s words apply to individuals. “Repent and be baptised every one of you for [to] the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” It was to as many as the Lord their God should call. They are addressed as individuals, and there is no hint of a body or assembly. Men repent individually, and are forgiven sins individually. I do not doubt they came into the assembly, but nothing is said by him about it. The first intimation of union with Christ in one body is at Paul’s conversion; Acts 9:5. In Peter’s sermon to Cornelius it is the universal testimony, “Whosoever believeth in him,” Acts 10:43. So Paul: “By him all that believe are justified from all things,” Acts 13.
It is the same story with the jailor at Philippi, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” —no word of joining a body to be saved. I do not doubt a moment that they became part of the assembly of God, but not a word is said of it connected with salvation. So Paul preached “Jesus and the resurrection” at Athens, and “kept back nothing that was profitable” at Ephesus, preaching “repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ”: individual dealing with souls, and nothing of the assembly or church, and that in the very place where he afterwards unfolded it.
In Paul’s account of his preaching before Agrippa, there is no word of the church in his commission to sinners. He was sent “to open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to fight, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Consequently he shewed everywhere that men “should repent, and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” It was individuals; he pressed a work wrought in them; but not a word of the assembly, or joining it, in his testimony to the world.
Now this is the more remarkable, because Paul was the one who specially, and indeed Paul only, built up in church truth those who did believe. But, as we have seen, it was a distinct part of his ministry, as unfolded in Colossians 1. I believe what we may call church truth is more important than ever; and in going to the Gentile as he did, Paul laid the foundation of it (for their free admission was externally the basis of that truth, which God is now mercifully bringing out again); but for salvation he preached “repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I have already spoken of the Romans, where all in the doctrinal part is individual, as responsibility, repentance, justification, and being dead to sin, must be in their very nature with sinners. Hence, having spoken of what Christians knew as such of the spirituality of the law, he changes from “we” to “I”— “We know,” “I am carnal.” But all is without exception and carefully individual.
In Corinthians he speaks of the assembly; but so far is the church, as God’s building, from being the way of saving, that he speaks of wood, and hay, and stubble, which was to be burnt; and presses upon them, in chapter 10, that they might be partakers of the sacraments, so-called—be in the external or sacramental church—and fall in the wilderness all the same. From that70 on he speaks more of the body than of the house. But of these points anon. But when, as in 2 Corinthians 5, he turns to the gospel and salvation, individuality takes its full place again.
In the end of Galatians 2 again, we see individual state. The promise by faith of Jesus Christ is given to them that believe. The putting on Christ is not salvation, but the giving up being Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female, and being Christians and nothing else. It was (begging pardon of the Thirty-nine Articles) a badge of their profession. But we are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and heirs crying, Abba, Father, but all this is individual (Gal. 3 and 4); and they are then carefully warned against keeping days and months and years. Faith that worketh by love was the availing thing. All is carefully individual. They were all in the assembly already.
In Ephesians 2:8 salvation is individual, though it be the Epistle in which the doctrine of the church is most fully unfolded; but it is a second order of truth, not salvation. It is when speaking of the individual, that he speaks of the gospel of their salvation, and then they were sealed, by which they were members of the body; chap. 1:13. The first truth is children or sons by faith, as in Galatians.
Philippians is all individual, though the assembly be fully recognised.
It is in Colossians the apostle distinguishes his ministry of the gospel and of the church. Holy days were but a shadow of things to come, now passed away; Christ being the body, they were now mere heathenish Judaism, against which he was warning them. Take chapter 3, from chapter 2:20, indeed, and see how all is individual.
In Thessalonians men obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, not by the assembly, as in chapter 1:9, where it is clearly individual. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14, we have a formal statement that it is by sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, whereunto they were called by Paul’s gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Of Timothy I will speak. Titus tells us that the grace of God brings salvation, but adds no word of the church. Of chapter 3:51 will speak.
Of Hebrews and the rest I need not speak at large. The assembly or church forms no part of doctrine there. That Christ leads our praises in it (chap. 2:12) we learn, and (chap. 12:23) that there is an assembly of firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. Conscience, which is always individual, is perfected, and this gives us boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. Faith is that of an individual coming to God, and by that he obtains witness that he is righteous through the more excellent sacrifice. That salvation is through joining an assembly is alike unknown and opposed to Scripture. Men are justified by faith, then sealed by receiving the Holy Ghost, through which they are of the one body. Baptism is their formal admission into the external company on earth. Of this we must now speak, and shew all Mr. Sadler’s theory utterly false.
I believe, let me now say, that the truth of God as to the assembly is, in these days, of the last importance; that God’s order was to gather souls as well as to convert and save them; and that many of our highest privileges are connected with it. But the assembly or church has two very distinct aspects in Scripture, consequent upon its being formed by the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost—that of the body of Christ, and that of the dwelling-place of the Holy Ghost. Besides this, in the latter aspect, that is, as God’s house, it has a double character—what Christ builds, and what man builds responsibly.
All this, which is declared in Scripture, is missed by Mr. Sadler. All his thoughts are vague and in confusion; all his statements as to the Ephesians unfounded. He says (p. 45), “a kingdom or fellowship which he deigns to call his body.” He never calls His kingdom His body. “He instituted means of grace, by which they were to be brought into this fellowship” (p. 45), and (p. 46) “all baptised into his name are to be accounted as belonging to it… In this case the baptised are the church (p. 46), and responsible for the grace of having been made members of Christ.” All this is false.
In 1 Corinthians 12:13 we read, “By one Spirit we are all baptised into one body.” That this is the Holy Ghost, and not baptism by water, is as clear as words can make it. The apostle is speaking of spiritual manifestations—gifts given by the Holy Ghost: “All these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body.” One has only to read the chapter to see, with unquestionable evidence, that the apostle is speaking of the Holy Spirit Himself.
But, to leave this beyond all controversy, we have a positive declaration by the Lord Himself of what the baptism of the Spirit is: “Ye shall be baptised with the Holy Ghost not many days hence,” Acts 1:5. Accordingly, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues. That coming of the Holy Spirit was the baptism of the Holy Ghost spoken of, and of these and other gifts, which were the fruit of it, the apostle is speaking in 1 Corinthians.
That the apostles even ever received Christian baptism there is not a trace in Scripture, nor indeed the hundred and twenty who were together. They were to wait for the promise of the Father, receiving power by the Holy Ghost coming upon them, which took place accordingly, and “Christ being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear,” Acts 2:33. This was the baptism of the Holy Ghost, by which they were baptised into one body. That water baptism introduced into the body, or made men members of the body, is a notion wholly unknown to Scripture. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” The gift of the Spirit is always distinguished from it moreover. They were to repent and be baptised for (to) the remission of sins, and they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; Acts 2:38.
In the case of Cornelius, he received the Holy Ghost, God’s proof that He would have him in His assembly, as formed down here, into which consequently Peter orders him to be admitted by baptism. Whether before or after, they are always distinct. So in Samaria they believed what Philip preached and were baptised. After that two of the apostles go down and pray that they may receive the Holy Ghost, for as yet He was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. So in Acts 19 twelve men, on Paul’s instruction, were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, and when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied. Baptism and the reception of the Holy Ghost are distinct; and it is by the latter that believers are baptised into one body, which is a real union with Christ. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit,” by which we are members of His body, He being the Head.
I turn now to being born of God in baptism. This is equally unwarranted by Scripture—nay, formally contradicted. “Of his own will,” says James, “begat he us by the word of truth”; and Peter, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever,” 1 Pet. 1:23. Paul tells us, “In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15), and he was not sent to baptise—strange, if men were born of God by it. He tells the Thessalonians God had chosen them to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, whereunto He called them by his gospel; and the Lord declares, “Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken to you.” I have quoted positive passages. He who keeps to the word will find it confirmed in every page.
But we will examine the passage which speaks of being born, as they allege, in baptism: John 3:5. It is only an effort to squeeze it out of the passage, for of baptism directly it does not speak. Further, it is well to remark that it is not said, born of the Spirit by, or with, water, but born of water and of Spirit. I have already said the apostles were never baptised (they were clean through the word spoken) nor is there the idea of communication of a nature by water. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The water is necessarily dropped here; John 3:6.
As a testimony of the extreme ignorance of Mr. Sadler as to scriptural truth, I would cite from page 54 the declaration that we find no allusion to such a use of water in the books of the Old Testament. This is a singular preoccupation of spirit. The Lord demands how Nicodemus, being a teacher of Israel, did not know this: the Old Testament, that is, furnished him fully with this truth. Let us turn to Ezekiel 36:25: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh: and I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them, and ye shall dwell in the land… And I will call for the corn,” etc., dwelling on temporal promises to Israel in the last day, which last promises lead the Lord to say, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” and He goes on to the fuller doctrine of the cross, which involved the rejection of Messiah, and the impossibility of the present fulfilment of earthly promises.
This leads us at once to see what being born of water means; it is purifying from evil, sanctifying through the truth; and the Father’s word is truth, that by which we are positively told by James we are begotten, born again according to Peter, who distinctly says, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.” “Ye are clean,” says the Lord Himself, “through the word which I have spoken unto you”; so Paul, “that he might sanctify and cleanse it, by the washing of water by the word.” There are two things, and, to set Mr. Sadler quite at ease, at the same time communication of a new life or nature. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” and the purifying the soul by obeying the truth, for this birth is by the word, the incorruptible seed of God. The whole tenor of the Lord’s statement contradicts the “church” doctrine. “The wind bloweth where it listeth. So is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Whereas it is tied in that system to a formal rite, which all are bound by the system to carry out universally. Besides, it is the way of seeing the kingdom, as well as entering it, with the solemn statement of “Verily, verily.” Does baptism make people see it? Not now, for the child at any rate, to whom that system habitually applies it, does not see it at all; not the kingdom of glory, for they admit that many baptised never see that at all.
To a Jew (a rabbi who looked for the kingdom of God, and had read Ezekiel, and looked for the kingdom according to that and other passages) the being born of water and the Spirit had the clearest and fullest signification. But nothing blinds like the church system. Speaking of the insignificance of water does not concern me, as I do not apply it to baptism by water at all. But this is a mistake, because baptisms by water were the universal figure for cleansing among the Jews, even with proselytes, at least women. All the rest of Mr. Sadler’s statement has nothing to do with the matter; save that, when he rejects believing as the way of being born, the scripture replies, “We are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” The word nowhere joins the Holy Ghost and water as baptism, as if the Holy Ghost acted in it and by it. It is always a distinct thing.
But further: baptism is not even a sign of the new birth, but of death. We are baptised to Christ’s death. It is a figure of death and burial, as Romans 6 and Colossians 2 clearly testify, and hence is connected with remission of sins because (in coming up out of death—death with Christ, which is figured by it, and risen with him) we come up forgiven all trespasses, as is said in Colossians 2, and, having, as to our profession, left the old man behind us, we put off the old man, crucified with Him, reckoning ourselves dead.
And note, our resurrection with Christ is not the same as quickening. In resurrection Christ is viewed as a raised man. God raised Him from the dead, and us, for faith, with Him. But we are baptised to His death. I go down there into His death, and am raised with Him, “through faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” It is not the Son quickening whom He will, nor simply our being born; but Christ a dead man raised, which implies the remission of sins for those who have part in His death, buried with Him, and consequently to walk in newness of life, reckoning oneself dead to sin, and alive to God in Him.
What Mr. Sadler says as to Ephesians is a mistake. Church union with Christ is not the only or great subject of the epistle, doctrinal or hortatory. You do not come to it till the very end of chapter 1. All the previous part, our calling and inheritance, is based on our relationship with the Father, and being in the same place as Christ, as to this, as sons. In the hortatory part we are to be followers (mimetai) of God as dear children, and walk like Christ. In our relationship with Christ, it is with Him as man, whom God has raised. Then the body, and our quickening with Him, is spoken of. There is no reference to this relationship in the hortatory part, except in speaking of husband and wife.
Now as to other passages connected with baptism, the “church principle” gives remission of sins by it regularly, when the person has committed none. So that the application of all this is singular enough in this system. A heathen or a Jew, baptised to Christ, does, I doubt not, receive administratively forgiveness of all past sins—I believe a great deal more in connection with Christ’s death (a believer, as to his conscience, is perfected for ever), but I believe that he comes in as one who has died with Christ, and left all the old things behind him—is indeed as a risen man.
But we must consider the passages, which are of great importance in their place. We are all baptised to (never “into”) something, as “to” Moses, “to” John’s baptism, where it is the same word; and where it is said, “baptised to,” or “for, the remission of sins,” it is that which is the portion given in Christ, and we come to partake of it, just as we do to have death to sin; where a person has been a sinner, he receives it, as to all he had done, in it. Baptism is that by which we are introduced into the enclosure in which God has set His blessings administratively on earth, though He be sovereign. There is forgiveness there, the Holy Ghost there, the administration of all God’s blessings down here. On entering, I enter into the condition and place where these blessings are enjoyed. Hence we find, washing away sins, the consequent receiving of the Holy Ghost, indeed every blessing in Christ, as far as they exist down here, connected with it. But no one save those blinded by “church principles “could, as having read the Scriptures, ascribe operatively and effectually to baptism the possession of these privileges. The blood of Christ, and nothing else, washes away our sins before God; but I come professedly to Christ in baptism, in whom and where this blessing is. It is the admission into the open confession of His name and death, and, in a certain measure, resurrection. Hence guarding it where he says it saves, Peter says, “not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer (request, eperotema) of a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
As to being born in it, such a thought is never found. Regeneration is connected with it in Titus, and modern language has connected that word with being born again. It is only found in one other place in Scripture. “In the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory” — the millennial earth, a new state or order of things. Thus Peter, when he speaks of saving us, is referring expressly to Noah, who came through the flood, which was death to the old world, into a new one, and was buoyed up by that which was death to them, into that new one—was saved by or through water; so we, seeking a good conscience, find it in Christ’s death, brought safe with Him into the new place of resurrection. I believe regeneration in Titus refers to baptism as a sign of this. But we are washed by passing out of the old condition of heathenism, or Judaism, or fleshly life in any sense, into the new state of things, which is, where real, a new creation altogether, of which we are thus—professedly at any rate— partakers. But then Paul carefully distinguishes this from the renewing of the Holy Ghost. I have no doubt he is thinking of the regeneration as a real thing, but not as the renewing of the Holy Ghost as an actual inward work. It is a change of state and position, the renewing an actual internal work. This is never connected with baptism.
I have spoken of Acts 2:38, and of Acts 22:16. Ephesians 5:26 has, on the face of it, nothing to do with the matter: the washing is by the word. Mark 16:16 brings in faith on preaching. Now, if a heathen believed Jesus was Son of God, and refused to be baptised, he refused to be a Christian when he knew he ought; for him it was refusing to confess unto salvation. It has nothing to do with any efficacy in baptism; Tit. 3:5; 1 Pet. 3:21. I have spoken of Romans 6:1-4 and Colossians 2:12. To say that being baptised to Christ’s death is being born of God is as absurd as to the meaning of the rite, as it is groundless. That death is the force and meaning of the rite is quite true, and it is so used by the apostle; but it has nothing to do with any inward work, or being born again.
On Galatians 3 (p. 58) also I have spoken. Romans 6 and Colossians 2 are both used as public profession; Romans, as shewing that living on in sin denied it; Colossians, that this profession of being dead subverted the religion of ordinances, which Mr. Sadler is insisting on. We are no longer alive in the world in Colossians, we are dead to sin in Romans. The conclusion Mr. Sadler draws from the passage in Romans, in page 56, is exactly the contrary of that drawn by the apostle. The difficulty was, if one man’s obedience made us righteous, we might continue to live in sin. How shall we that have died to sin live in it any longer? And that is what you did professedly, he goes on to say, in baptism; you were baptised to Christ’s death. You are denying your profession of Christ by such an argument.
As to Colossians 3:1-10, it is not “yet” (p. 57), but “because,” and the passage proves the contrary of what it is cited for. If I am risen with Christ, I have power, and am to mortify these evil members—for he will not recognise the Christian as having his life in this world; he is professedly dead and risen with Christ.
What Paul is shewing in 1 Corinthians 10 is that, belonging sacramentally to the church, taking in both sacraments, did not secure salvation, which I wholly accept. It was a professed deliverance out of the world, but not the new birth. In Jude he shews the same thing: they had an outward deliverance, like Israel, but, he adds, not having believed (and we are children of God by faith), He afterwards destroyed them. This is a poor argument for the value of baptism, and, note, saving out of Egypt has nothing to do with personal or eternal salvation. It was the deliverance of a people, a change of situation; which is just what baptism effects, not involving any real change or internal salvation at all. And so both the passages declare: a very necessary warning when such a book as Mr. Sadler’s is written.
It is perfectly true that in his epistles to the various churches the apostle treats those to whom he writes as saints; not indeed on the ground that Mr. Sadler puts it, but on the solid ground of God’s work—on that of real faith—as I shall shew. In the Galatians alone he speaks doubtfully in one passage, but recovers his confidence in the next chapter. And observing days, and months, and years, was one great cause of his doubts—the Judaism Mr. Sadler recommends; Gal. 4:10, 11-20. He recovers his confidence, looking to the Lord; chap. 5:10. He anxiously warns the Corinthians, but is not in doubt of their real Christianity. Brought out of heathenism by the word and Spirit of God, and passing by baptism formally, as Mr. Sadler says, into God’s established place of blessing, the apostle treats them as real Christians, but on the ground of their real faith, never on the ground of a fancied work in baptism. He does shew in two instances what baptism implied in the Christian (Rom. 6; Col. 1), but never as the ground of addressing them as saints. When he does in this way refer to it, it is to warn them not to deceive themselves by such a thought; 1 Cor. 10. Let us see this.
In Romans 1:7 they are saints by God’s calling, and (v. 8) he thanks God for them all that their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world. He sought to be comforted by their mutual faith.
The church of God at Corinth were saints by God’s calling, sanctified in Christ Jesus. The formal profession is even distinguished as those who everywhere called on the name of the Lord, though treating them as true, unless proved otherwise; and, so far from not esteeming them as real saints, he declares that God would confirm them to the end, so that they should be blameless in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. God had called them into the fellowship of His Son, and He was faithful. The worst among them turned out in fact, sad as his conduct was, a real Christian, and was restored. Accustomed to heathen habits, they had everything to learn morally. Indeed, as we read in the Acts, God had a great people in this notedly corrupt city. In those days dissipation in sin was called Corinthianising. In the second epistle, they being restored in state by his first, he speaks of them with full confidence, “having confidence in you all,” chap. 2:3. Titus’ spirit had been refreshed by them all. His boasting of them was found to be a truth. The whole epistle shews his confidence in the reality of their Christianity. In chapter 12 he is afraid he may have to use sharpness as to some who might have sinned, but of their true Christianity no doubt.
Of the Galatians I have spoken. There for a moment he stood in doubt. But this proves what I am saying, and that Mr. Sadler is all wrong. For they had been all baptised like all the rest. It was their actual state which raised the question, though they had been; and when that was turning from the truth, their baptism availed nothing as to their being treated as saints. “Ye did run well: who did hinder you, that ye should not obey the truth?” Nor does he therefore boldly call them saints at the beginning, though in looking to Christ he regained his confidence. Their baptism did not suffice for this.
In Ephesians there is no doubt. They were not only saints, but faithful in Christ Jesus; but here the apostle distinguishes between one Spirit, one body, and one hope of our calling; and one Lord, one faith, and one baptism—the latter, as public profession. But of the Ephesians he affirms that they were quickened of God when dead in trespasses and sins. They had been sealed after believing. His address is not founded on their baptism, but on their faith. Every verse of the Epistle bears testimony to it. The church is one which Christ has loved, sanctified by the word, and will present glorious to Himself: one was as true as the other, His loving, sanctifying, and presenting glorious to Himself.
The Philippians gives the same testimony—that he looked to a real work. He was thankful for their fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He that had begun a good work would perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ. He writes to them on the ground of true faith and grace, not on that of baptism, assured moreover that the work would go on to the day of Jesus Christ.
In Colossians “faithful brethren” is again added. And what was the ground of his writing? He had heard of their faith in Christ Jesus, and their love to all the saints. It was reality, not baptism. They too had been dead in their sins, and God had quickened them with Christ and forgiven them all their trespasses. Would Mr. Sadler say this to all his congregation, and, as Paul to the Corinthians, that God would confirm them unto the end? and to the Philippians, that He who had begun a good work in them would perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ—that they were all complete in Christ? or with Ephesians, that the same power had wrought in them which had raised Christ from the dead and set Him at God’s right hand? He knows he would not; his whole theory is false and delusive. Preach to them as baptised, and not as heathen—all well and right. But the Epistles go on the ground of real Christianity in the soul.
With the Thessalonians, he knew not their baptism but their election of God, because his gospel had come to them, not in word only, but in power and in the Holy Ghost; so that they were ensamples, and so spoken of that he needed not say anything. The word worked effectually in them; they were his hope and joy and crown, when Christ came. In the second, their faith grew exceedingly, and the love of every one of them all towards each other abounded.
Of Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, I have no need to speak: they were individually known and chosen brethren.
The whole thing is an awful delusion, which the reading of the Epistles exposes at once, in its bare nakedness and soul-deceiving character. But we have an Epistle which speaks of the converse of this, and, if possible, proves more strongly, because negatively, what I say. The church was soon corrupted.
Jude tells us that false brethren had crept in unawares. Who could creep unawares into Mr. Sadler’s system? Baptised, no doubt, but crept in, and unawares, but shewing distinctly that, where they were not real saints, they were not recognised as saints on the ground of baptism indiscriminately, but detected as having no business there. They had crept in unawares, spots in their love-feasts, feeding themselves without fear. If Mr. Sadler’s theory were right, why not address them as saints, like all the rest, by baptism?
Peter equally takes the ground of true saints, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, and declares they were kept by the power of God, through faith, to the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. They had purified their souls in obeying the truth. Christ was precious to them. In the Second Epistle he stirs up their pure minds by way of remembrance. The other Epistles are mere treatises, not addressed formally to Christians.
Only that in John some had gone out that it might be manifested they all were not of them. They had slipped in undetected, but were manifested as “not of us.” God did not allow them to remain: if of them, they would have continued, shewing clearly what “of us” means. But baptism is never laid as the ground of addressing saints as such, but faith and being obedient to the truth: in a word, being Christians in truth, though some false brethren began to creep in unawares.
I conclude then (that, while baptism was the public and outward admission into the Christian assembly, as formed on earth, and so to its privileges here, and so formally to the remission of sins, which was found there, and hence, when sins were already committed, their remission received administratively, and men passed into a new place and position, being accounted to have wholly left in Christ’s death, to which men were baptised, their old standing), it is not being born again at all according to John 3, it has nothing good or bad to do with being a member of Christ’s body, nor was it any way receiving the Holy Ghost, which is always carefully distinguished from it. It is not receiving life, not being made a member of Christ’s body, not receiving the Holy Ghost. The whole theory is antiscriptural as to the meaning and import of baptism, as well as to any fancied actual efficacy.
I now turn to the scriptural view of the church or assembly of God. It is formed, we have seen, by the descent of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit is given to believers as a seal on God’s part of their faith, by reason of their being cleansed by the blood of Christ. They are sealed to the day of redemption. The effect of this in the individual, though full of blessing, and as important as the others of which we shall speak, is not our subject now. But the result, as stated in Scripture, as to the assembly, is that it is the body of Christ, each individual who is thus sealed being united to Christ the Head, and a member individually of His body; all thus sealed constituting His body. This, though it will be perfected as a whole in glory, is constituted on earth; for the Holy Ghost has come down here consequent on the Head being a Man exalted to the right hand of God. This may be seen in Ephesians 1:19-23, as it is in the counsels of God: and in 1 Corinthians 12 as in fact down here.
But there is another aspect of the assembly, the house of God: only we must remark that the body of Christ exists by true union with Christ by the Holy Ghost. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit,” and “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” If he be thus united to Christ, it is a real thing. “If Christ be in you,” says the apostle. People have taken the Spirit of Christ here to be a temper or state; but the words cited which follow shew at once the fallacy of this. “If Christ be in you “is the sense the Holy Ghost puts upon it. Ephesians 5 clearly shews what this body is—the bride of Christ. It is what Christ loved, and which He will present to Himself, as God presented Eve to Adam. It is no doubt established on earth, because the Holy Ghost is come down to earth, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost took place then; but it is real—if one member suffers, all suffer with it; if one rejoice, all rejoice with it. We are members one of another. Of this the Lord’s supper is the symbol and the outward bond; 1 Cor. 10:17. Baptism with water is not what makes us members.
But I now turn to the house. God’s dwelling amongst men is a great truth, and the consequence of redemption. He did not dwell with Adam innocent; He did not dwell with Abraham. But as soon as Israel was redeemed out of Egypt, though by an external redemption, He came to dwell among them in the Shechinah of glory. We read in Exodus 29, “They shall know that I Jehovah their God have brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them.” Consequent on a true eternal redemption, Christ as Man being at the right hand of God, the Holy Ghost comes down, making the assembly His dwelling-place.71 But here we have to look at the house, as Scripture presents it to us, in two distinct ways; according to the purpose of God, and indeed as founded by Him on earth; and as administered by man responsibly.
According to the purpose of God, it is not yet complete. The Lord says, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This is not yet complete. At least, we trust that souls will be yet converted. God is not slack concerning His promise, but long-suffering. So Peter: “To whom coming as unto a living stone … ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house,” 1 Pet. 2:4, 5. So in Ephesians 2:21: “In whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.” Here, in the first case, the Lord Himself builds, in the others no instrumentality is spoken of: the living stones come, the building grows, to a holy temple. This is the Lord’s work and it cannot fail, and the stones are living stones, built on Christ the living Stone. It may be visible, as it was at the beginning; or invisible, as it has become through man’s sin. But the Lord builds His temple, and that cannot fail, and His work cannot be frustrated.
But the external body, as a house and temple down here, in which we are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit, has been entrusted to the responsibility of men, as everything has to begin with. “As a wise master-builder,” says Paul, “I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” Here is man’s responsibility. Wood and hay and stubble may be built into the house. Till God judges it, it is the temple of God, as the Lord calls the temple His Father’s house, though it was made a den of thieves. We have instruction how to conduct ourselves in a state of things which, in its hidden germ, began in the apostles’ day. Where there is the form of godliness, denying the power of it, we are to turn away; to purge ourselves from the vessels to dishonour. In the beginning it could be said, The Lord added daily such as should be saved, and that visibly. Now we say, “The Lord knoweth them that are his”; and “every one that nameth the name of the Lord,” must “depart from iniquity.” The wolf may catch and scatter the sheep, but cannot pluck72 them out of the Saviour’s hand.
The mystery of iniquity wrought in the apostles’ days. All, at the end of his career, sought “their own, not the things of Jesus Christ”; and he knew that after his decease, the barrier gone, grievous wolves would enter in, and from within men arise speaking perverse things to draw the disciples after them. Jude tells us that false brethren had already crept in unawares, and these, we learn from him, were the class who would be judged by Christ at His coming. And John tells us that the last times were already there, manifested by apostates. The church then, as God’s house, might be largely composed of what would be burned up—wood, and hay, and stubble. But when this was so, when there was a form of godliness and the power denied, from such true Christians were to turn away, and walk with those who called on the name of the Lord out of a pure heart. True saints would be hidden, or might be, so that we could only say, the Lord knows them that are His.
But there are explicit directions what to do when this is the case—turn away from them. The church could have no authority, for Christians were called upon to listen to Christ’s judgment of it. See the seven churches. Jezebel would be its teacher, the mother of its children; and from its lukewarmness it would be spued out of Christ’s mouth. And the apostle in 2 Timothy 3, when the perilous times of the last days should be come, refers to the Scriptures as able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. When the church would be a false and insecure guide (having the form of godliness, denying the power of it) the believer is referred to the Scriptures as a secure one, and called on authoritatively to listen to and hear the Spirit’s judgment of the church.
The body of Christ, though set up manifestly and visibly on the earth, cannot have false members, because it is such by real union—by the Holy Ghost—with Christ its glorified Head. The baptism of the Holy Ghost formed it, not the baptism of water. It is the church which Christ loved, and for which He gave Himself to sanctify and cleanse with the word, and which He will present to Himself a glorious church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. He nourishes and cherishes it, as a man does his own body, for we are members of His body. But as this is by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, the assembly takes another character. It is the habitation of God through the Spirit—His house; in its origin identical in its extent with the body—the Lord adding daily those whom He was saving. This also will be an everlasting character of the assembly of God. Glory in the church, to all the generations of the age of ages, is the desire of the apostle, and in the new heavens and the new earth the tabernacle of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, will be with men. This Christ builds; it is formed of living stones, and grows into a holy temple; the workman is the Lord Himself in His grace. Nor can Satan prevail against it.
But, as man himself, the world under Noah, the law and priesthood in Israel, the kingdom in Solomon, and Gentile power in Nebuchadnezzar, it has, as to present administration and manifestation, been committed to man’s responsibility, and man, as in each of the cases named, has signally failed, and failed the first thing. So it was with man, with Noah, with the law, with the priesthood, with the royalty, with the Gentile power. So it has been with the professing church. As to general decay, all sought their own, the last days had come, nor was there to be recovery. As a dispensation on earth, they did not continue in God’s goodness, and would be cut off. Evil men and seducers would wax worse and worse; there would be a form of godliness, denying the power; and the evil that had come in by false brethren would grow to be subject of judgment when the Lord came. History only confirms it.
Things were read in the churches forty years after John’s death which would scarcely be received by an infidel now as doctrine, and contained practices as superior piety which would be scouted in decent society. I challenge anybody to deny it who has read the Shepherd of Hermas. It issued in the abominations of the middle ages and of Romanism, which truly made, as an infidel has said, the annals of the church the annals of hell. No heathenism was so systematically bad. Baptism does not make any one a member of Christ. The church was set up visibly, both as the body and the house. The body nothing can touch, because it exists by real union with Christ, the Head. The house, according to the counsels of God, is built by Christ, and is not yet complete; but, as every system ordained of God, as formed down here, it has been committed to the responsibility of man, and man has failed. And not only will it be set aside, but it is there judgment begins. Corruption and apostasy mark its result, and it will be set aside, as Israel was. This, indeed, is a general truth, that everything has been first committed to man’s responsibility when it was established, and man responsible has failed, and all is to be set up in power and perfectness in the Second Man.
2 Timothy directs us how to act when the church has failed, as 1 Timothy gives us the order in which it was established. The attributing the blessings and promises, given to the body and the house as built by Christ, to the house as carried out by responsible man and built of wood and hay and stubble, is the origin of popery and what is called Puseyism, leading men to trust in, and cling to, that which God is going to judge and cut off, instead of to the word of God, to which He has referred us in the perilous times of the last days. It is just this, with many false details, which the church services do, and Mr. Sadler seeks to justify.
I notice a few details. Regeneration is a falsely used word. But being born again is not by union with Christ, but by His quickening power by the word; nor is baptism being born again. It is wholly false that the Galatians were children of God by faith, because, as Mr. Sadler says, as many of them as had been baptised to Christ had put on Christ. Indeed Mr. Sadler contradicts himself, for he says it is a needful supplement to faith, and, if a supplement, it could not be because of baptism they were children by faith. The Galatians states they were children by faith, and faith only. That in baptism they had professedly put 04 Christ, in contrast with being Jews or Greeks, or anything else, is true. But the epistle expressly speaks of the Spirit as that by which those who are sons by faith cry, Abba, Father. The doctrine that a child who has not committed sins receives remission of sins in baptism is a cruel mockery. That he is baptised to that which thus belongs to Christianity, as its leading privilege, may be true, if it be done intelligently.
Speaking of being baptised “into” anything is a mistake. It is “to,” as to Moses, to John’s baptism. There is no Christian covenant. The kingdom of God is not the church, nor the body of Christ. That men enter into the kingdom by baptism may be all well, though entrance into the house seems to be more accurate. It is into the public company of God’s professing people, but even so “house” is only a figurative word; but they do enter where God dwells in the Person of the Holy Ghost.
I do not discuss the question of Calvinism. Mr. Sadler’s statements as to the falling from grace are not sustained at all by the passages he quotes. That they may fall away after being baptised Scripture plainly states. He cannot have a better human statement as to it than his Article XVII. Baptism is not the seal of any covenant. It is expressly declared that the Spirit is the seal of faith in the believer. The whole of this part of Mr. Sadler’s book assumes as admitted truth what there is not the smallest warrant for in Scripture (as page 95). There is no admission into a Christian covenant. Regeneration is not grafting into Christ. Circumcision was not entering into the covenant, nor did it effect that infants should be children of God under the old dispensation. The whole statement is fancy. “Children of God “was not a title even of believers in the old dispensation; see Gal. 4. This and the following pages are a congeries of unfounded assertions, but the general discussion of the subject in the previous pages suffices.
I will now take up Mr. Sadler’s teaching on the Lord’s supper, the precious and blessed memorial of the Lord Himself, who deigns to care that we should remember Him. If ever there was anything calculated to touch the heart of a Christian, it is this; nor do I doubt that, as with all means of grace, so, especially with this, positive and direct blessing ensues to the believer. For my own part I know of nothing, of what I may call the institutions of Christianity, connected with so much joy and fruitful influence to my soul. No Christian will despise preaching, teaching, exhortation, reading the word, or common praise and prayer, if he knows his need or his privileges, nor indeed other things less properly institutions; but in none are the affections, as formed by the Spirit of God, so fully and solemnly moved as in the Lord’s supper. But I reject, and reject as indeed destructive of this, the view Mr. Sadler takes of it. Solemnity, seriousness, and self-judgment in going to it is every way to be cultivated. But superstition always cultivates mystery and fear in our nearest approaches to God; Christianity, the contrary everywhere. We have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. We have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Fear hath torment, and he that feareth is not made perfect in love. God’s perfect love—for it is God’s love that is spoken of—casts out fear; 1 John 4.
He would not have us always in torment. And with striking beauty, when speaking of our love to Him, it does not say we ought to love Him, but, in the sense of love fully displayed in what precedes, we love Him because He first loved us. For in the case of a superior even of a mother, or any one we look up to—and in this case it is infinitely so—the deep sense of their love to us is true love to them. In what precedes, God’s love towards us as sinners, dead in sins and guilty, is shewn (1 John 4:9, 10); in the Christian enjoyed in a new nature by the Holy Ghost (v. 12); and then perfect with us—for there is no excuse for the translation, “our love” —giving us boldness for the day of judgment, because as Christ is, so are we in this world. The thought of God’s love has reached from the condition of guilty dead sinners to the day of judgment; and this takes away fear, for we know Him. He has revealed Himself to us as the Father sending the Son, and bringing us, while once guilty sinners, far from Him, as sons into His presence, in Christ Himself; He is fully revealed in Him, and we complete in Him, before Him; and hence, while redoubling our praise and adoration, taking away fear, save the blessed and most wholesome reverence which fears to offend. In this sense “blessed is he that feareth always”; it is the beginning of wisdom and a beginning that is never lost, but increased in our fullest blessedness: indeed then we feel our own nothingness and forget ourselves, but never Him, when sensibly in His presence, as His fear makes us.
The whole spirit then of Mr. Sadler’s system though engaging to the natural man, the effort at mystery and fear, is contrary to the very character and object and nature of Christianity, as made known to us in the word. In it the veil is rent from top to bottom, free entrance into the holiest given, and that with boldness. The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has declared God, and made Him known as He knew Him in His bosom. That the Person of Christ is mysterious is most true, but this would go quite too far, for no one knows the Son but the Father; so it is absolutely because of the union of Godhead and manhood in one Person. But in intercourse with men the Lord was openness and affability itself among them, as one that served, and just as free with His poor ignorant disciples as with Moses and Elias in glory, and speaking on the same subject. See the kind of intercourse of Ananias in Damascus (Acts 9:10-16), and of Paul (chap. 22:17-21), and how the Lord met them.
The truth is, that it is just bringing us, as the whole system does, to Judaism. There the Holy Ghost signified by the veil that the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest; Heb. 9. To us the word is boldness to enter in by the new and living way through the veil, that is to say, His flesh. And it is this Mr. Sadler wants to make a mystery and a veil of again; and the Christian may be assured that it is not God’s presence known in the holiest that will give him levity or carelessness in his conscience; he will be, as Paul expresses it, “manifested to God,” and he is speaking of manifestation as it will be in the day of judgment (2 Cor. 5),73 for God’s holiness and judgment of evil never vary. But it is not fear, because we are before Him in Christ as sons, accepted in the Beloved, blessed, if I am to believe Scripture, as men to whom the Lord imputes no sin. And of that state only the scripture says, “and in whose spirit there is no guile.” Why should there be, if we are white as snow? and, if we fail, have confidence in God to confess it, with a full and open though a broken heart, the Holy Ghost who dwells in us leading us, through the advocacy of Christ, to do so?
I have said thus much because of the importance of the truth of Christianity in itself, its true nature, and because it changes the whole aspect of the subject we are upon. But I will enter directly on the subject. And, first, it is difficult to acquit Mr. Sadler of a want of honesty. It is hardly conceivable that a person who seems to have studied the text of Scripture on his subject should not know that eating “damnation “to themselves is exactly the opposite of what we mean now by damnation. Either the word was not used then as it is now, or the translators were not honest; for the “damnation “here spoken of is a chastisement sent that they might not be condemned. They ate and drank judgment to themselves; for if we judged ourselves, we should not be judged, but when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. And the judgments are spoken of: sickness, which went on even to death, called “sleep “because it was that of Christians. Thus the speaking of “damnation” is in open contradiction of the passage, and subverts its whole purpose and object.
No true Christian doubts the divinity of the blessed Lord, but, solemn as was the institution of the Lord’s supper, every word He spoke, and every act He did, was the expression of the same divine Person, so that the attempt to make anything especially mysterious on this account, in the Lord’s supper, is utterly groundless; and, indeed, when He says, “in remembrance of Me,” it is much more of Him viewed as man, conversant with them on earth, than as to His divine nature. “Remember Me” suits His presence and love down here; and if we add His death, it is certain that, though the whole value of His divinity is attached to His death, and only as a divine Person could He have done it, yet He died as man, not as to His divine nature. He was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death. And whilst holding fast the full deity of the blessed Lord as a very foundation of Christianity, we must not forget there is one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus. His Person was no more mysterious in the Lord’s supper, though the occasion was more solemn, than at any other time. If we speak of circumstances as especially mysterious, it was when a babe lying in the manger. But in truth it was always the same.
What we have to examine is what He said. But it may be well, in order to simplify this, to reply first to what is alleged of John 6. The Gospel of John has a peculiar character; it does not present Christ to be received, but, in chapter 1, speaks of Christ as unknown by the world, and rejected by the Jews, save such as were born of God. Electing love is insisted on throughout, and the Jews treated as reprobates. Hence, in every chapter in this part, Christ is brought out in contrast with that people. Here the Passover is referred to, and what Christ was as Jehovah, manifested in feeding the multitude, according to Psalm 132. He is owned as prophet, will not be king in a carnal way, and then sends the disciples away to find their way alone on the sea, and, having dismissed the Jewish multitude, He goes up on high to pray. He is Jehovah, Prophet, Priest on high, rejecting the royalty in a carnal way then. He is on high, and the disciples alone. He then shews their true food while He was on high, and externally separated from Him. Is it Christ Himself, or the Lord’s supper? I might say really, or exclusively the Lord’s supper? For the Lord speaks of the eating of Him, whatever that is, as one thing, though in two aspects, but of that which is one, and which is in itself absolutely efficacious. Indeed, down to the end of verse 53, it is in Greek the aorist, an act which has happened; from verses 54 to 58 it is the present characteristic of the person spoken of, the eater of My flesh.
Remark further, you have the incarnation, death, and ascension of the Lord Jesus closely connected one with another; in a word, His whole history, so to speak, as become Man. But the middle and most important part is not Himself, but a rite! so they would tell us. Then the first part of which the eating is equally spoken, and closely connected with the second (v. 51), is not in the Lord’s supper at all; so that the doctrine does not fit at all as a whole. When we come to the substance of the chapter, the impossibility of its application to the Eucharist stares you in the face. “This is the bread which came down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.” And it is well to begin before this. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life… I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat [have eaten] 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… Verily, I say unto you, except ye eat [have eaten] the flesh of the Son of man, and drink [have drunk] his blood, ye have no fife in you [yourselves]. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day… He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.”
I ask if the Lord would say to a parcel of Jews surrounding Him, that they had no hope of life but in the Eucharist, which they had never heard of, and knew nothing about? or did He speak of Himself, whom they were to receive, living and dying? Why, if they had not life by faith in Him—had not come to Him by faith, they had no place at His table at all. But I quote a few words more: “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me shall live by me. This is that bread that came down from heaven … he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” Now mark, first, if a man has not eaten His flesh, and drunk His blood, he has no life in Him. The man begins all real living Christianity by receiving the Eucharist before he is one! Their own doctrine of receiving life by baptism is all a fable; or, if he has, he must make sure and die spiritually, or he is not in the case to participate in the Eucharist.
They talk of sustaining life by the Eucharist, as men by eating; but these men have life, and daily eat as living men, sustaining life by it, as God has ordered. But here they have no life in them at all unless they eat. If it be by receiving Christ into the heart, incarnate and dying, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that is intelligible enough, especially addressed to unbelievers; but to say it of the Eucharist is alike false, absurd, and contradictory of its nature, for it is for Christians. According to Mr. Sadler’s system, it is “received by the faithful”; they are to receive it with a true penitent heart and lively faith. Mr. Sadler has to admit that the Lord confers eternal life on the whole man by it; but then he also admits that no carnal wicked man can get any benefit by it; but, if not outwardly wicked, it is a man who has not had eternal life conferred on him.
The language of the Lord, as to a Person who has not eaten His flesh, nor drunk His blood, not having life, makes it perfectly impossible to apply it to the Eucharist; for the eating and drinking the Lord speaks of is the first receiving of life: till they ate and drank, they had no life in them. None but dead souls can partake of it, and so receive life. To talk of preserving or sustaining is in the teeth of the express terms of the passage.
But further he who did so eat was to live for ever, and that not hypothetically or conditionally, but live for ever. The Lord repeats and insists on this, and carries it expressly on to final blessedness in the eternal state. “I will raise him up in the last day.” It applies, says Mr. Sadler of the Eucharist according to his system, to body as well as soul. That is easily slipping over what is said. The Lord, repeatedly and with emphasis, insists on eating being eternal life, living for ever, never dying; and, not content with this, goes on to make him who eats sure of final blessedness in resurrection.
Does that apply to the Eucharist? And let not any one come here and say it puts him in that state, and if he continue well. This is not what the Lord says. He declares that he who eats, according to this passage, “shall live for ever,” and starting from the assertion, “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
The point of difference between the manna and this bread was, that they did die: with this kind of eating, “never die” is the very point of the passage. Whoso eats His flesh and drinks His blood has eternal life, and Christ will raise him up in the last day. It cannot be the Eucharist, for no believer can partake of it in that case; for the believer has everlasting life, as declared in this passage, but he who eats of this has no life in him till he has eaten of it. On the other side, he who partakes of the Eucharist has obtained (though there be, as being dead, “no life in him”) eternal life, will live for ever, and be raised by the Lord at the last day. They know, as well as I do, that this is in no way or aspect applicable to the Eucharist. The Eucharist refers symbolically to one of the three great events referred to in the chapter, as the chapter does in one part to the realities of which the Eucharist is a symbol. But the chapter in no part, and in no way, refers to the Eucharist. Not one word of it can be honestly applied to that rite, while every word fully and blessedly applies to that to which the rite itself refers.
This disposed of, I turn to the only real inquiry: What do the words of institution mean? I have already spoken of the value I attach to the right use of the Eucharist, and, so to speak, meeting Christ there; but we are now speaking of a particular view of it. Mr. Sadler tells us that taking it as a memorial is a rationalistic view of it. My answer is, Christ said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” He tells us it is not “doing” on our part, but Christ’s giving and we receiving (page 122). But Christ says, “Do this.” As to figure, Mr. Sadler recognises that the bread and wine are still and ever bread and wine, and nothing else in themselves. They have therefore, if any value beyond bread and wine be in them, that value as figures.
And now note that there was not then any such Christ as is symbolised in the bread and wine, nor is there now. What is unquestionably symbolised is His body (given) for us, and His blood shed; that is, a Christ in death, and no way else. There is no such Christ now. And this the apostle expressly states: “We do shew forth his death, until he come.” Whatever means of grace it may be, it is not an existing Christ as He is or was then. So He speaks of His shed blood. It is, in a word, a Christ on the cross, and His death, that is in view, though it be done in remembrance of Himself. To turn it away from this is to turn it away from Christ’s institution, and the express declaration of Scripture.
John 6 represents to us Christ as the Word made flesh in the incarnation, and then suffering on the cross, at the end hinting at His ascension as Man to glory. But the subject of the chapter is a humbled and dying Christ, made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, and actually dying (though to take thereupon a glorious place as Man where He was with the Father before the worlds), in contrast with a reigning Messiah.
We have the same path of grace in Philippians 2, contrasted there with the first Adam. He made Himself of no reputation (eauton ekenose), and took a servant’s form; then, being found in fashion, He humbled Himself unto death, the death of the cross; then He is exalted of God. But He is fed upon as humbled and dead, His blood shed; once exalted, both these things are passed and closed. He is the subject of eating only as bread come down, and dying, and shedding His blood.
In John 6 this is presented solely as the beginning of life to us. He gave His flesh for the life of the world. Till I eat it, I have no life in me. Feeding is more than simply believing, though inseparable from it. It is nourishing the soul with the object of faith. Though first phage, an act past and done, yet trogon, eating, characterises the believer; but no such Christ as he feeds on is in existence now. It must be by remembrance. It is shed blood he drinks. If it be not shed and out of the body, there is no redemption, and so we must receive it peremptorily or not have life. Without, shedding of blood there is no remission; and the corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die, or it abides alone.
In the institution of the Eucharist it is the same subject, only not here bread come down from heaven (a position just closing in John 6), nor an exalted Christ, but blood shed and the body dead, and only so. There is no such Christ in existence, as the one represented in the Eucharist; but it is Christ in that way in which He wrought redemption, obtained remission, and laid the foundation of the new covenant. It is Himself we remember in the infinite love of this, but His death we shew forth. It was done once for all in the end of the world.
Mr. Sadler tells us that the slaying of the lamb and the passover was not a remembrance, but that Jehovah did pass over them. This is a great mistake; for it answers to Christ’s actual dying and shedding His blood, so that God should pass over; but the passover was to be kept yearly as a remembrance when there was no passing over, when they were in the land, as we are in heavenly places in Christ, and celebrate a deliverance and redemption accomplished long ago. “And it shall come to pass when ye be come to the land which Jehovah shall give you, according as he has promised, that ye shall keep this service. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? that ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of Jehovah’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel, when he smote the Egyptians,” Exod. 12:25. It was (v. 24) “an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.” And again, “Remember this day in which ye came out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage … there shall no leavened bread be eaten,” Exod. 13:3. “And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which Jehovah did unto me when I came forth from Egypt. And it shall be unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes … thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.” It was a perpetual remembrance. It was at a season when they killed the passover; Matt. 26:17 and following; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7, 8.74 At this season of the passover the remembrance of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, Jehovah institutes the remembrance of a better sacrifice and a better deliverance.
Mr. Sadler would think a slain lamb a better memorial. Thank God, the Lord did not think so. I pity Mr. Sadler. Would he (I am ashamed to speak of it) have drunk the blood of it, a most weighty and momentous part of it to us? Further, death was death, and could not be touched but as death and the wages of sin. Now death is life and gain; for Christ has in all the depth of it paid those wages, and we feed on it as life. And the memorial of what wrought this is sweet to our souls, as is His love who did it. The giving of the blessed Lord, celebrated in the Eucharist, is His giving Himself—His life on the cross for us in infinite love. We know Him as living now in glory, we feed on Him as once dead on the cross for us. He is in us as life now. We remember Him as once a sacrifice, whose value, and the sufferings and love in it, none can fathom. His love is divine and human and constant now; but He cares, though now in glory, that we should remember Him as He was then, that time of love when He gave Himself for us. Mr. Sadler may think it rationalistic. We cherish the thought that He cares for our remembrance—did so when suffering—in our inmost soul. We feed on it. Hereby know we love, that He laid down His life for us. It is infinitely precious at all times; but the Lord’s supper is a special occasion instituted by Himself, at the moment of His doing it, the same night in which He was betrayed, to recall and be a memorial of it. That He meets His gathered people there I do not doubt.
Looked at merely doctrinally, it was the substitution of a sweet memorial of eternal redemption wrought, for one of an earthly deliverance of a people who now rejected their Messiah but only accomplished the higher purposes of God in doing so. That blessed work was also laying in blood the foundation of the new covenant. Of a covenant with the communicant, or with the church, no trace is found in the word. It is a mere doctrinal fable. We get the blessings of it spiritually, as I have said; but formally the new covenant, as the old to which it refers as new, is made with Israel, and with no one else. There was a covenant made with Abraham (besides promises relating to Israel) confirmed to the seed Christ; and those who have Christ’s Spirit, being in Christ, and Christ’s, have the blessing of this (though they have a great deal more), but as the new covenant, promised in Jeremiah 31, the Mediator of it having come, and the blood of it shed, we participate in spirit in its blessings, God having done all needed to set it up, and the Jews having refused to accept the Mediator, even in glory; Acts 3 and 7. It will be established, according to promise, but by grace in God’s due time. This Christ also teaches. It is the new covenant in His blood, and, further, shed for many. It is thus shed blood alone which is before us in the Eucharist. It is an abiding witness that, as to God’s part in it, the foundation of the covenant is laid in the blood of the Mediator of it, and that that blood is shed for many. It is further a sign of the unity of the body, so that those who take part in it are there as one body in Christ, identified withal with all true saints.
The word “blessing … we bless,” as is perfectly evident from Scripture, is simply giving thanks. (See 1 Cor. 11:26; chap. 10:16; Luke 22:17; compare Mark 14:22, 23; Matt. 26:26, 27; exactly the same word as John 6:23.) When the Lord therefore says, “this is my body,” He speaks, it is admitted, figuratively. It is still bread.75 It could not be His body then, nor, in spite of Augustine, did He hold His body in His own hand, nor was there thus any such body, that is, dead and the blood poured out, as it is said (ekchunomenon). Nor is there now. It is the figure of Christ as a victim and only so. I do not insist on “broken,” for I suppose it is not the true reading. If “given” be genuine, it is the same thing; but I rest on the whole evident meaning, and it is expressly for us, not to us. It is the shed blood, shed for many. That we feed on Christ as then dead for us, and His blood shed, when eating the bread and drinking the wine specially, though at all times, is all well. But it is we who eat, and we who “do “in remembrance of that which must be, and can only be, remembered as past, though the One I remember is now ascended to the right hand of God, the same loving Saviour. The real act is our eating, and our drinking, our doing in remembrance; and even if “breaking” be spoken of, on which Mr. Sadler insists, it is we who break too. The wine is equally a figure, and a figure of blood shed, a shedding which took place on the cross, of which we perpetuate the memory.
As regards its being a figure, as Mr. Sadler says, identified with its object in the use of it, I have no objection to the thought at all. The more it is realised the better. Were I to do, or capable of doing, so horrid and wicked a thing as spitting on my mother’s picture, I should be putting disgraceful and most wicked contempt on my mother. If I eat unworthily (not be unworthy to eat), (and they were carousing and drinking their fill, and despising the poor) I am guilty of so slighting and counting a common thing the Lord’s body. I have no thought to weaken this a moment.
There is also communion; but Mr. Sadler’s translation and explanation, and his church’s with it, is wholly false. The English translators, most unhappily and avowedly fond of changing the word when it was the same in Greek, have translated the same word, communion, partaking, fellowship. Thus it is koinonia of the blood, of the body. But in verse 18 the priests who ate of the altar are kotnonoi of the altar, and in verse 20, kotnonoi of devils. Communicating or communicators of altars or devils does not give a very intelligible sense; but the moment we use the word rightly, the sense in each case is evident. They are morally identified with that of which they partake. The priests among the Jews were (koinonoi) morally identified with the altar of Jehovah, the heathen with the demons or devils to which the Gentiles offered. Were they going to identify themselves with devils and with the Lord, and provoke the Lord to jealousy? If they ate and drank with each—partook of them, they were koinonoi, morally partakers or identified with them. “Communication of” is a simply impossible sense if we read the passage.
The reasoning as to covenant (in page 136) proves just the contrary of what it is produced for. Covenants were ratified with blood, not with figures of blood. The covenant therefore was ratified on the cross, where blood itself was spilt, not in the Eucharist, where Mr. Sadler admits there is really no blood at all. It arises from his notion of ratifying a covenant with the communicant, a tradition perhaps of his church, but an idea of which no trace is found in Scripture. “I am the true vine “refers to Israel, the vine brought out of Egypt. There was no church union then with disciples. This began at Pentecost. Ephesians 1 and 2 shew it to have been impossible till after the death and exaltation of Christ. They were already (ede) clean by reason of the word He had spoken. I do not pursue this farther, because it has nothing to do with our subject. “Vine “and “door” remain figures in any case. The statements of page 132 are wholly without foundation. Supposing He is the true door, “door” is a figure, nor is there any entrance into the innermost sanctuary. “True vine” refers to a vine not, after all, the true one, that is, to Israel. All this is ranting. The image in Hebrews is a veil, not a door, and they went through it, and had not to eat it. All this is hardly worth so many words.
As regards a sacrifice, the scriptural answer is simple enough, “There is no more sacrifice for sin.” The insisting on the flesh of Christ is of all importance. His true incarnation and true death was a crucial point. So only was He a man, so only could He make atonement. It was an evil spirit which did not confess Him come in flesh. This was that spirit of Antichrist. All acquainted with church history know that the church was tormented with this at the beginning, teachers called Docetæ or Gnostics denying He came in flesh; whence also Paul says “the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” The insisting on it by John, and his motive for it, are as plain as plain can be to any one reading his writings, knowing the value of the truth, or, as I have said, acquainted with church history. Christ was a real true man, in a body, in flesh, and really died as a man shedding His blood, though God over all blessed for ever. But all this has nothing to do with the Eucharist, save that it is in the most important way presented to us there in what is the external bond of the church’s very subsistence. Nay, it is all frightfully weakened and subverted, by turning these vital truths into a false explanation of the Eucharist; for I recognise as I have said, that the Lord’s supper is the central point of union and worship, as to its forms, and according to Christ’s institution.
Mr. Sadler admits that the Eucharist has scarcely one feature in common with the things which in Scripture are called sacrifices (page 173). He tells us (page 174) that the real spiritual value lay, not in the costliness of the victim, nor in its death and the outpouring of its blood, nor in its consumption by fire, but in the implied reference to the atoning death of Christ. But it was in these things that the reference consisted; and they made them, and above all Him, a sacrifice together with the offering of Himself up to God, to be one; not one of which elements is found in the Eucharist. A “memorial “of Himself will not do, it must be Himself. Christ must offer Himself without spot to God. He must, as we are told in Hebrews 9, suffer to be a sacrifice.
He gives the disciples the memorials or symbols of His body and blood to eat and drink, not to offer. They were to do it in remembrance of Him, not sacrifice Him over again. That His sacrifice of Himself is in remembrance, no Christian will deny or be’ disposed to deny. But if we are sacrificing Him, then it is not a remembrance of Him,. Blood must be shed for a sacrifice; what is sacrifice must bear sin, or suffer, or at least suffer as made sin. But the Eucharist looks at the blood as already shed, at the sacrifice as already complete, and is a witness in remembrance that it is so, and that nothing can be added, taken away, or repeated. God has accepted it, and Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, because by one offering He has perfected for ever them that are sanctified. A commemoration of His having died cannot be a sacrifice. He did not offer a sacrifice in the upper room; and though the value of His sacrifice is ever in heaven, He is not doing it in heaven. He is, as Hebrews 10 insists, in contrast with the standing Jewish priests, always at work because nothing was really done, sitting at the right hand of God because all is done, expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. To the Judaism of an unfinished work always doing, this “church system” would reduce us. A glorified Christ cannot be offered in sacrifice. He is, as man, glorified, because He has finished the work which His Father gave Him to do.
Let any one read Hebrews 9 and 10 carefully, and see if this theory is not the subversion of Christianity in this respect. He does intercede, thank God, with God. He is an advocate with the Father to obtain help not to sin, to restore our communion if we have sinned; but this is founded on a finished work, and a complete righteousness. Where in Scripture is it said Christ was pleading His sacrifice in the upper chamber? where that the church is pleading in the holy Eucharist? (Page 175.) It is a pernicious fable, and that is all. I challenge Mr. Sadler for his authority to produce such a thought from the word of God. It is superstition, not piety: presumption, not lowliness; a pretension to be offerers of Christ, as if He had not finished all.
Mr. Sadler pretends there are better means to recall Christ to our hearts than the Eucharist. The answer is simple: Christ did not think so. For my part I thank God He did not. Doing it in commemoration, doing it to shew the Lord’s death, is not offering a sacrifice in any sense. No doubt it is with Christ, not with our faith, we are occupied, but we are not offering Him. All that Mr. Sadler is obliged to add to make out bis case (p. 177) is not in what Christ said. Doing a thing in remembrance of Him is not sacrificing Him, and does not mean it; nor was He then offering Himself at all, but giving the symbol of a finished sacrifice to eat. No comparison of the Eucharist and Jewish sacrifices is needed. In many respects it is more excellent. We drink what represents the blood of Christ. It is occupied with the sacrifice as already finished, not as being constantly done typically and never done really. But each was right in its place.
It is never said in Scripture to shew forth [the Lord’s death] before God, and angels, and men. The church, as were God’s servants individually, is a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men, and this act will come in with the rest. But a sacrifice is offered, presented, shewn to God only; and this applied to the Eucharist is abominably false, and subversive of Christianity, which rests stamped with this seal and impress, “no more sacrifice for sin,” or else the full value of the finished one is denied. I repeat, it is that only one, once offered as finished once and for ever, that is remembered in the Eucharist. To refer it (p. 186) to the giving thanks, blessing (not two things in Scripture), breaking, taking, eating, drinking, as the sacrificial character, shews the fallacy of the whole thing, for the drinking could not be till the sacrifice was over, nor indeed the eating. As to the others they are at best only consecrating to be a victim. Breaking referred to Christ is unscriptural;76 the bread is broken. It is not said of Christ.
I hardly know if it be worth while to answer the chapter on priesthood. The whole system is so foreign to Christian truth, and the subject of the ministry has been so fully discussed elsewhere, that it is a weariness to go over it again. Still I will say a few words. First, Mr. Sadler expatiates on the apostle having peculiar powers. He might save himself the trouble. Every Christian owns it, I suppose. In the next place, I absolutely deny any ordination to ministry, a principle now very generally admitted by Christians, even by those who submit to it for the sake of order. Scripture, at any rate, is clear as to it. Further, he confounds everlasting redemption and forgiveness, or justification by faith, never recalled (for whom He justified, them He also glorified; and being justified we shall be saved from wrath), with administrative forgiveness in God’s dealings or government, where, if a person be sick through chastisement, he having committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (Compare Job 36.) In this sense the assembly forgives sins (2 Cor. 2:7, 10); nay, I forgive my brother his trespasses. Of an elder or priest’s doing it with authority there is no trace in Scripture. On the contrary, where the elders are introduced, the prayer of faith saves the sick; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him, not a trace of any act of the elder.
Mr. Sadler goes on the principle of administering the sacrament. Sects may profess it, as he says, but Scripture knows nothing of it. They broke bread, kat oikon in their houses. The disciples came together to break bread. That the thanksgiving and breaking of bread should be, for comeliness and edification, done by some grave brother, is all well; but we have no administering it in Scripture. The bread which we break, the cup which we bless, speaks of what Corinthians do as such. The apostle was not there, and there is no hint of elders at all, though we know there commonly were, but their existence is ignored at Corinth if there were. There is no hint of any administering it. It is probable at Troas that Paul did it, though the words are very general. It was natural.
As to baptism, as a rule the apostles did not baptise. In Mark, if it be genuine, they are not sent to baptise but to preach the gospel. “He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved”; but of who did it, not a word. From Galilee (not Bethany) the twelve were sent to baptise the Gentiles, making them disciples, and this, note, from a risen—not from an ascended—Christ. In the commission in Luke, always acted on in the Acts, there is nothing of baptism. The commission in Matthew 28 was to the Gentiles alone. This the apostles formally gave up to Paul and Barnabas (Gal. 2), the Lord having expressly called them to this service, and Paul tells us he was not sent to baptise—contrasts himself with the twelve who were. It is alleged this refers to his motive, not to have them counted his disciples; but this is not so: he gives it as a general reason for his conduct, though for that reason he rejoiced in the result. I do not doubt they baptised all their converts, Jews or Gentiles; but they had no commandment for the former, and they gave up the latter to Paul, and he expressly says he was not sent to do it.
So much for the commission. Then as to practice; in Acts 2 no hint of the apostles, or of any commissioned by them, doing it. They were to be baptised for the remission of sins, and they were baptised. In chapter 8:12 they were baptised, men and women: not a word of who did it, only not the apostles, nor, as it appears, any commissioned by them. It was all news to the apostles. In Cornelius’ case Peter commanded them to be baptised, and Paul boasts, save in a few cases, of not having done it. As an argument for Mr. Sadler, I may add that lay baptism is valid in the English Establishment, as it is, and very common too, with Romanists. As regards commission to administer the Lord’s supper, I should have added, there is none such; they were to take, eat; they were to divide it among themselves. It is exactly the opposite of a commission to administer it to others. The whole statement from beginning to end as to administering sacraments, in principle and as to the facts, is wholly without foundation in Scripture; that all things should be done decently and in order is not. Indeed this thought is generally received by Christians on the continent, and is growing rapidly in England. But scarcely one of the assertions of Mr. Sadler (pages 206, 207) is founded on fact.
Christ did send the apostles to preach, at least if the end of Mark be genuine: at any rate they were to be Christ’s witnesses, and Paul was expressly. He did send the twelve to baptise the Gentiles, which commission they relinquished, and He did give authority to remit sins administratively; He did not to administer the Lord’s supper to them, nor to any one. And, note, if by baptism remission of sins was received, which to those thus brought in I do not deny, as a rule it was not the apostles who remitted them, but other people without any commission at all. That the apostles had an extraordinary commission, authority to ordain things in the churches, power to confer the Holy Ghost, besides their gifts, is quite clear. But even as to preaching and teaching, let us see how this clerical commissioning stands. At the persecution of Stephen all were scattered, except the apostles, and went everywhere preaching the word, and after the special case of Cornelius, by these first the gospel was carried to the Gentiles.
Here was a strange case: either all were ordained, and there were no laymen; or all laymen were preachers without any commission. And what makes it more striking is, that the hand of the Lord was with them, and many believed. Peter tells them, as every one had received the gift, so to minister the same. If one who had received a talent did not trade with it, without any other authority than having it, he was a wicked and slothful servant. If preachers came, women even were to judge of their doctrine, not of their commission: this never occurred as a safeguard to the apostle. Diotrephes would have found it convenient if only such had existed. And in the assembly they were only to speak two or three on one occasion, that all might speak and all might be edified. Everyone had a psalm, interpretation, doctrine; but all things were to be done to edifying, not to confusion. The whole tenor of the New Testament denies emphatically a clerical order of ministry. There are gifts given from on high, apostles, prophets, as foundation; pastors, teachers, evangelists, till we all come, etc.; and, besides these positive ministries, that which every joint supplieth, making increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love. And those who had this gift had it everywhere. Local elders there were, some ministering in the word, some not. That they should be didaktikoi was to be desired. Their overseership was evidently made more useful by it.
To all Mr. Sadler says about the effect of administering I have already spoken; the administering itself, we have seen, is an invention, as appointing others to administer it. Hebrews 6:1-4 is in contrast with spiritual Christianity. Baptisms are washings; laying on of hands is not spoken of ordination, as far as appears. The things are Jewish knowledge of Christ, and ways, as contrasted with the Christianity brought by the Holy Ghost. Laying on of hands was used for everything, sacrifices, healing, etc. The deacons had hands laid on them as apostolic sanction; I have little doubt the elders too, but Scripture carefully avoids saying so. Acts 13:2 was commending to the Lord, and nothing else (chap. 14:26); and was repeated on a second journey (chap. 15:40); and, if anything else, was the ordination of an apostle by laymen, a singular proceeding, if giving a commission and authority be in question. The apostles, and the apostles only, could give the Holy Ghost by it. On the one hand the Holy Ghost distributed to every man severally as He would (1 Cor. 12); and on the other, as to permanent ministry, the Lord gave, as ascended up on high, and as every one received the gift, he was to minister the same, as coming directly from God. Not a word of ordination in any case of ministry.
Mr. Sadler does not indeed venture to say more than “there is reason to believe.” I can only say that, if we read the New Testament, we have reason to be sure of exactly the contrary. And this to justify a man, established by God knows who, pretending to give the Holy Ghost to make a priest to forgive sins! a power which the apostles administratively had, and which as to details was exercised by the assembly in its discipline, and even through individual prayer in chastisements, but the conferring of which on a priest, or the idea of a priest, is unknown to the New Testament, save as we are all kings and priests to God. The whole system is a false invention, denying the power and presence of the Holy Ghost. I challenge all the clergy to give me a case of ordination to ministry. I have quoted what gives thousands of cases of ministry without ordination. That they commended to God, and bore witness of consent and approbation by the laying on of hands of laymen, so-called, or the elderhood, we find; but conferring ministry there was not, save from on high and by the Holy Ghost. Communicating the truth there was, to faithful men too, but never ordination to ministry. It is the substitution of man for God the Holy Ghost.
I have examined thus all the great principles of Mr. Sadler’s book. They can in no respect stand the test of Scripture. I do not feel it necessary to discuss Confirmation, or the Burial service. The chapter on Confirmation is so excessively weak (suppositions founded on suppositions, to defend a poor imitation of apostolic power not half owned in the service itself) that it is not necessary. The Burial service depends on the whole system, though in many cases a horribly unfeeling thing too. But with the details of the particular sect I have nothing to do.
[End of Doctrinal—Vol. 8]
68 I do not mean the Concio Latronum, which however, though disowned, was just as much, in every respect, a general council. There the bishops beat poor old Flavian, the patriarch of Constantinople, so that he died of it. Yet in no point did it fail of what made a general council.
69 Verse 51, and other verses, as 54, prove that whosoever eats, as here spoken of, is saved for ever. So that everyone, the worst hypocrite, that took die Lord’s supper, would be saved!
70 The transition is in the middle of chapter 10.
71 The individual saint, doubtless, too; but this is not our subject here. 1 Corinthians 6 gives the individual; 1 Corinthians 3, the assembly. Each is called a temple.
72 In the original it is the same word as ‘catch.’
73 “Appear” in verse 10 is “manifested,” Paul saying not only we all should be, but he was then.
74 John taking the divine side of His Person, we have no account of this but the doctrine as to the work itself in the doctrinal teaching. Chapter 5 is the life-giving Son; chapter 6 the incarnate and dying Redeemer—our food while He is absent; chapter 7 the Holy Ghost given instead of the feast of tabernacles, where He will shew Himself to the world, which He could not keep then. I add, chapter 8, His word rejected; chapter 9, His work. In chapter 10 He will have His sheep in spite of them, and other sheep too. Chapters ir, 12 are God’s recognition of Him as Son of God, Son of David, Son of man, which introduces His death, besides Mary in Bethany, a remnant who in a measure entered into it. From chapter 13 He is looked at as going up on high, but we have no suffering Christ led as a sheep to the slaughter; no sorrows in Gethsemane, but power and giving Himself freely up: no sorrows on the cross, but giving up His own spirit to the Father, when the time was come.
75 It is a curious fact that the epiklesis, or invocation of the Holy Ghost, which was used to prove that there were two natures in Christ, when superstition had set in, as there was bread and the divine thing too, and which was considered the consecration and still is by the Greek church (though since the time of St. John Damascene they have tended, though with uncertain steps, to transubstantiation, a word now used among them), is not in use in the Roman Missal (which in this essential point differs from all ancient liturgies), nor in the English. The Greeks use “this is my body” too; but though appropriating the elements thus in a certain measure in a side chamber, called prothesis (if my memory be not treacherous), this is not full consecration.
76 It is a false reading where introduced [in 1 Cor. 11:24].