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with chains; again, an immense burn- actions or things.” These truths may ing lake; then an underground resi- be illustrated by a variety of circumdence, where only shadowy beings flit stances. When our Lord breathed on around; then a prison, with walls that his disciples, and said, “ Receive ye the cannot be scaled; now so near heaven, Holy Ghost,” was this breathing any that Abraham and the rich man in hell thing more than a symbol? Or, in other can address each other; then in the words, was the Holy Ghost enclosed in extremity of the universe, at the farthest the air which Jesus breathed? We prepossible distance from Jehovah.
sume no one will seriously contend for What shall we say of the floodsclapping this. When the Spirit in the form of a their hands, of the hills being joyful dove descended on the Saviour at his together, of the mountains skipping baptism, did this dove contain and enlike rams,
the little hills like lambs, of the close the Holy Spirit, in his essential elements singing praise to God, of inani- nature? We know that the infinite mate nature discoursing on his glory, of God is not thus circumscribed. The the earth being turned upside-down, of dove was merely the symbol of the its being emptied of its inhabitants, of its descent of the Spirit. We may add mourning and weeping, and a multitude here, relative to symbol and trope, that, of the like representations? There is however different, the mere manner of not a man in his senses on earth who does them may be, they both agree in that not instantly reject the literal interpre- which is most important and essential. tation in all such instances. Reason Both of them teach by resemblances or does this instinctively; and she requires similitudes, and have the same general no precept, for she spontaneously decides. end in view.
Both testaments abound with tropical As it is then evident, that the Old and and symbolical language. It is scarcely New Testaments abound with symbolic, possible to open either of them without and tropical representations, and statecasting our eye on a variety of instances. ments, we may, on the principle of Our Lord, addressing the Pharisees, analogy, assign a tropical meaning to the said, that “ they strained at a gnat, and language of Christ at the institution of swallowed a camel.” Referring to him- the supper. We have not yet heard of any self, he said, “The zeal of thine house one who has sufficient temerity to assert hath eaten me up.” Alluding to the that the water of baptism is converted efficacy of faith, he says, “Whosoever into the Holy Spirit; why then should believeth on me, as the scripture hath the bread and wine be regarded as the said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of flesh and blood of Christ? Probably we living water.” We are told " we must be shall be told, that the cases are widely born again.” Are we to understand this different. It may be alleged that the as Nicodemus did, in a literal sense? Saviour distinctly asserts, “ This is my Almost every paragraph in the sermon body, this is my blood;" whereas it is on the mount is couched in figurative never said of the baptismal water, “ This language.
is the Holy Spirit." We are therefore, It may probably be said, that the in- under the necessity of carefully examinstances we have presented of the neces- ing the DICTION employed at the instisity of a tropical sense differ from the tution of the Eucharist, for the purpose passage under discussion, respecting the of ascertaining, whether any argument body and blood of Christ, inasmuch as can consistently, be deduced from it for the bread and wine, if they are not to the physical presence of Christ in the be literally understood, must be symbols, elements. What then is the import of and not tropes. A moment's considera- the term body? (owua) It cannot with tion will show us that the opinions we any propriety, be regarded as synonymous are controverting can derive no support with flesh. In writing to the Romans, from this assertion. “The only difference Paul distinctly states what body means. between trope, or parable, and symbol, “The body is not one member, but is, that the former points out some re
many." "As the body is one, and hath semblance by means of words, the latter many members; and all these members by means of actions or things.” “A of the body, being many, are one body.” discourse may be a parable or an alle. The body then includes flesh, bones, gory, or be filled with tropes or meta- muscles, limbs, head, blood—in a word, phors, while symbols must be significant the whole of the material part of man.
That such is the constant biblical usage, if they did literally eat his body at all.” is abundantly evident from the fact, that We now discover at once that the literal the sacred writers never contrast body sense of these passages, is surrounded and blood, but flesh and blood; and with insurmountable difficulties. It the reason is obvious: the body itself may, however, be stated, that the whole comprehends the blood, as well as the must be regarded as miraculous. If other constituent elements of the human we examine this assertion in the light frame. From this observation, then, of truth, we shall find that it is totally there can be no doubt, if our Saviour's destitute of any foundation. In other language is to be understood literally, instances of supernatural interposition that the bread represented his whole the senses are appealed to. When Jesus body, flesh, blood, bones, nerves, and transformed water into wine, the taste every other part. According to this in- of the guests decided that the miracle terpretation, each communicant receives had been wrought. When the blind the body of Christ: there must be there- were made to see, the deaf to hear, the fore as many physical frames of the dumb to speak, the lame to walk, the Redeemer as there are communicants, sick to rise from the bed of languishat the same time, or successively. ment, the dead to burst their tombs,
But this cannot possibly be the im- demoniacs to be freed from their malady, port of the language; the last clause of —all these cases were examined and the declaration directly forbids it. The judged of by the senses.
And why blood is part of the body. Even the should they be appealed to everywhere, schoolmen, during the middle ages, and always in respect to miracles, and made this discovery. The injunction, yet be utterly rejected in the case bethen, literally considered, to partake of fore us? the blood of Christ, after having par- Besides, a miracle is something which taken of his body, must be wholly super- is possible. It cannot involve a contrafluous.
diction, nor an absurdity. But the We are forced, then, upon another physical presence of Christ, unperceived and different meaning of the word by any of the senses, is an absurdity, body, (owua) if we are to adhere to the a contradiction. A man's whole body literal sense.
“ And what is this? The and blood cannot be masticated and same, say the Romanists and others, as swallowed, (and less than this cannot flesh. But let us inquire for a moment. be meant by the Saviour's words, if Flesh (oaps) is living, animated flesh, they are to be literally taken), without not dead flesh, not meat. Now if the a perception by at least four of the body of Christ had been broken, and distributed among the disciples, and Our opponents may, however, say, that his blood had been poured out, before they assume a supernatural, a miracuthey received the sacramental elements, lous eating and drinking. Very well, (and surely the words of Christ imply then, they are bound, to admit that there this), then was Christ's flesh no longer must be a supernatural body and blood living flesh. The blood thereof, which
But in this case they was the life, was gone, or as the evan- are vanquished on their own premises, gelist has it, was poured out. Christ's because the physical body and blood of body was a (rt@ua) corpse; his flesh Christ are not fed upon. If the eating (kpeas) dead flesh, not (oapć), living and drinking be supernatural-someand animated flesh. How then could thing above us, beyond us, not carried the disciples eat the body of Christ, on by any organs that we possess, then even if this means to eat of the flesh of the act is not ours, it is not we who eat Christ, and then afterwards drink his and drink; it is omnipotence which blood ? If they ate his body, they ate accomplishes certain things that are the blood with it, they must have merely carried on within us, and of swallowed the physical frame, whole which we are not so much as even the and living; for gaps is live flesh. If conscious instruments. If it is the exthey ate his flesh, that is, his living clusive work of omnipotence, then how flesh, then they must have eaten it be- comes the work ever to be done wrongly? fore the blood was poured out from it. How can any man eat and drink damBut this they did not; for it was the nation to himself? broken body of Christ which they eat, We shall now proceed to show that
to feed upon.
there is nothing in the form of the down from heaven; that his apostles are expressions used which binds us to the salt, and light, and a city on a hill ? &c. literal sense. “ This Is MY BODY, THIS No, among all the ravings and crudities
If the declaration, of commentators on the Bible, none “This is,” renders it imperatively have ever reached such an eminence of necessary that we should give a literal folly and extravagance and stupidity as interpretation, then, of course, the same such an exegesis would indicate. There rule of exegesis must be extended to is another shade of meaning to the verb other cases of a similar nature. We IS, which is still more important and are bound to be consistent and con- direct to our purpose.
It is this, viz., gruous in the application of a general symbolizes, betokens, represents. Exprinciple.*
amples in which it has this meaning are Every critical reader of the word of found in abundance in the scriptures. God knows, “ that in the very numerous Joseph, when he interprets Pharaoh's cases where one thing is compared with dream, says, “ The seven kine are seven another, or likened to another, or may be years; and the seven good ears represented, or symbolized by another, seven years;" &c.
When Jotham prothe Hebrews did not usually designate posed the fable of the trees going forth this, by inserting words which literally, in quest of a king and seeking in vain and directly express the idea, it is liked for one that would reign peaceably over to or, it may be compared with, it resembles, them; no one will contend that this it is symbolized by, it signifies.” Through- did not represent the men of Shechem out the Old and New Testaments, the seeking to make Abimelech their king. usual and ordinary mode of asserting When Isaiah sung his song respecting or expressing these and the like ideas, the vineyard, that brought forth wilă is by the use of the verb is, either ex- grapes, was there any difficulty in unpressed or implied. Often the verb is derstanding him when he said, “The designates the idea of signifies, means. vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the Thus, in Matt. xxvii. 46, “ Eli, Eli, house of Israel, and the men of Judah lama sabachthani, that is," adds the his pleasant plant?” Look at the parevangelist, “My God, my God, why able of the sower. “ The seed sown by hast thou forsaken me.” Also, Mark the way-side, is he that heareth the iii. 17, “Boanerges, which is, (means,) word and speedily hath it taken from sons of thunder.'
him by the wicked one,” &c. So also Very frequently, too, the verb is im- in the parable of the tares. “ The field plies comparison, or resemblance, “ The is the world, the good seed are the Lord is my rock,—Is my fortress,—IS children of the kingdom, the tares are my buckler,” &c. " The Lord is my
the children of the wicked one, the shepherd,” “God is our sun;" and this enemy that sowed them is the devil; phraseology is not peculiar to the Old the harvest is the end of the world ; and Testament, it is also found in the New. the angels are the reapers.” See 1 Cor. “ Our God is a consuming fire.”
x.; Rev. xvii. To all these passages we the true vine, my father is the husband- must of course give a tropical sense. The man.
Did any man of common sense only question now before us, is, whether ever attempt to give these, and simi- the words connected with the eucharist lar declarations, which are almost with- stand on the same basis, and must be not number, in both Testaments, a literal interpreted by a reference to the same meaning? For example, did any one principles of exegesis ? If it can be ever venture to maintain that God is a made evident that any other than a literal rock, a literal shield, a literal tropical interpretation would involve tower, that Christ is literally a lamb, absurdities, impossibilities, or inconthe door of the sheep, bread which came gruities, we shall at once be able to
* I am
* All the best commentators are agreed that children, who asked respecting the passover, the sense of roti is represents, or signifies, “ What is this?” “ This is the body of the an idiom common in Hebrew, which wanting lamb which our fathers ate in Egypt.”— Vide a more distinctive term, made use of the verb Blooinfield's, Greek Testament, Vol. II. p. 160. substantive; a simple form of speech, yet Bishop Marsh's Lectures, p. 332 – 335. subsisting in the common language of most Dean Turton's, Reply to Dr. Wiseman's nations. Thus the Jews answered their Lectures.
dispose of the question. No appeal can the substance or man. But a man canbe made from this test.
not be a tree or a stone at the same In attending to this department of time that he is a man. It is, then, the subject, we notice, that there are un- plain, that the body and blood of Christ answerable arguments against a literal cannot, in the nature of things, be at exegesis.
the same time bread and wine ; and I. The literal interpretation is highly bread and wine, as such, cannot, in the improbable. The idea of eating flesh nature of things, be the body and blood and blood-above all, of eating human of Christ. And if it be endeavored to flesh and blood commingled, or of eating avoid the force of this, by asserting that blood at all, was, and is abhorrent, transubstantiation only maintains that both to the Old and New dispensation. the bread and wine go over into and Gen, ix. 4; Lev. iii. 17; Acts xv. 20. become the body and blood of Christ, Now is it to be supposed that the this will not satisfy a sober inquirer. apostles ever regarded their Master as All the attributes of bread and wine having taught them really and actually still remain after consecration, and it is to eat his own flesh and drink his own impossible, therefore, that the substances blood ? and taught them to do this, not themselves should not still remain. once only, when he was with them, but IV. Another consideration is, that down to the time when he should come the real human body and blood of Christ to judge the world ? Had they under- have now no actual exsistence, and stood him in this way, how could they have not had any for more than 1800 have refrained from the highest degree years. The proof is incontrovertible. of astonishment and horror? Not only Paul says, “that flesh and blood cannot as Jews would they have shuddered to inherit the kingdom of God,” &c. their inmost soul, but as the Saviour's “That a human body is sown a natural friends,—their astonishment would have body, and raised a spiritual one.” The been irrepressible, their horror beyond Saviour, it is true, is in heaven, extendexpression. But we find no trace of ing his dominion over the whole unianything of the kind.
verse, and his presence is every where. II. Let us advert to the POSSIBILITIES But he is not in heaven in a body of of feeding on the real body and blood of flesh and blood, but in a glorified body. Jesus. “This is my body, which is Nor is his body of flesh and blood in broken for you, eat ye all of it. This is the tomb, where it was once laid. · He my blood which is shed for you; drink is not there, but has risen from the ye all of it.” What is this? Here is dead." More than 1800 years ago, his body first of all, that is, the whole Jesus's body became a spiritual one. of his frame with all its parts, including Can physical organs devour spiritual the blood. This is presented to them existences ? as broken, and they are to eat it. But V. We further observe, that if the how is this possible in the literal real presence in the elements is to be sense? The body of Jesus was not maintained, then Christ's human body then broken. The Saviour was sitting and blood must be ubiquitous, that is, before them, clothed, sound, unmaimed. every where at the same time. This To say that the disciples ate his broken statement requires only a brief illustrabody before it was broken, is to affirm, tion. The supper may be in actual that a thing can be and not be at one celebration at the same moment on and the same time. The same state- different sides of the globe. Now, acment holds good with regard to the cording to the doctrine in question, blood.
Christ's human body and blood must be III. It is evident that one concrete, present in all these places; and what is specific thing, or object, cannot at one more, each individual communicant and the same time be another and dif- masticates and swallows the whole. ferent concrete, and specific thing, or The material body of Jesus, then, must object. A man, for example, may be be not only ubiquitous, but indefinitely a father, a magistrate, and the like, or multiplied at one and the same time. he may be amiable, gentle, intelligent, But this is plainly an impossibility and learned, benevolent, or the reverse, and an absurdity. If it be denied that there yet be one and the same man: but all is any such actual bodily presence, then these are mere qualities or attributes of the literal interpretation is given up.
What possible advantage can be de- eucharist, are constrained to acknowrived from this doctrine ? Religion is ledge that unbelievers can derive no essentially spiritual. We deny not the profit.
profit. So then, by their own stateimportance of human instrumentality, ment, faith is indispensably requisite. but spiritual truth is the grand means But faith is the belief of something, in the conversion and sanctification of and not the eating of flesh and blood.
The law of the Lord is perfect, Faith is the giving of credit to divine converting the soul; the testimonies of truth, and it fixes, of course, upon truth the Lord are sure, making wise the as its proper aliment. A faith which simple.” “Sanctify them through thy spiritually profits at the Lord's table, truth; thy word is truth.” “Ye shall must then be a faith which fixes upon know the truth, and the truth shall make and receives the truths there taught. you free.” Even those dispensations of But what is there taught must be that Divine Providence which are often re- which is there symbolized, or betokened, garded as instrumental in conversion not what is eaten, or drunk.” and edification accomplish the great It is now evident that we must have end, by impressing on the mind some recourse to the symbolic exegesis. The momentous religious truth. Truth “is elements are emblems of the Saviour's the proper aliment of the spiritual man, broken body and shed blood. We parand all expectation of being spiritually take of them to call afresh to mind our renovated, or nourished, without Divine crucified Lord. We believe the atonetruth, is like the expectation of re- ment of Christ to be the glory of Christiceiving bodily nutriment by feeding anity: “We have redemption in his upon the air.”
How is it possible with blood, even the forgiveness of sins;" the word of God in our hands, to sup- The symbols at the supper are pose that the mere eating and drinking SHOW FORTH HIS DEATH until he come;" of the proper physical body and blood to pourtray the mysterious transactions of Jesus is spiritually saving, or salutary which are the basis of our hope. in its nature? “The kingdom of God With what emotions of gratitude, of is not meat and drink, but righteous- love, of solemnity, ought we to approach ness, and peace, and joy in the Holy the Lord's table! What trembling of Ghost.”
heart ought we to experience lest we “ Even the most strenuous advocates should eat and drink unworthily! of the bodily presence of Christ in the Reader what is thy conduct?
NARRATIVE OF A MISSION OF INQUIRY TO
THE JEWS, from the Church of Scotland, in 1839. Edinburgh ; W. Whyte and Co.
Third Edition. 1844. We have read this work with great interest, though not with exactly the kind of interest we had anticipated. We have met with much valuable information on the present condition of the chosen nation, though, in this respect, we confess it has not equaled our desires and expectations. The deputation consisted of four ministers of the church of Scotland, who appear to have been every way fitted for the important embassy to which the General Assembly appointed them. One of the num. ber, while the present edition was passing through the press, finished his course. When approaching Jerusalem, he ran before his companions, that he might obtain the first sight of the holy city. He has entered “ the heavenly Jerusalem” before them. The most interesting parts of the work, in our opinion,
are those in which they minutely describe the scenery of the holy land, and the feelings which the sight of it enkindled. They tell us, that the emotions of that hour when they entered Jerusalem, hallowed to the christian mind by a thousand interesting associations, could not be spoken. Absorbed in thought, and indisposed for converse, they entered the city where “God manifest in the flesh" suffered for the sins of the world. The precise site of Calvary, they inform us, cannot be ascertained; but it appears, that the spot which interested monks have pointed out
that where " our Lord was crucified," has little or no claim to be thus regarded. We were struck with the reflections which they make on this circumstance. " It is wisely ordered that a cloud of oblivion should rest over the spot where Immanuel died; and there is something pleasing to the mind in reflecting, that the turf that was stained with his blood, and the rocky tomb where he lay, are left unprofaned by the followers of a