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have, it must be allowed, a clear and conclusive proof of a continued observance of the Lord's Supper, on the part of the apostolic churches, for at least one hundred years.
The peculiar forms and ceremonies which accompanied the ordinance during these primitive times we have no opportunity of seeing. It was most likely little more than meeting together, collecting alms, breaking bread, and eating, pouring out wine, and drinking, in the name and memory of Jesus. At any rate if there had been anything peculiar, anything in the ceremonial part of the sacrament, vital to its existence, St. Paul, when commenting on the faults of the Corinthians, would surely have taken the opportunity of mentioning it. From the charges which he has delivered, we may infer, that simplicity, regularity, and devotion, formed the basis of its celebration, and that as long as they preserved the end and object of their Redeemer's command, "This do in remembrance of me," they were not scrupulous or contentious upon the outward forms, provided only those outward forms were observed in decency and in order.
THE SECOND CENTURY.
After the close of the first century, we can of course have no further evidence from scripture; our evidence from this period will de
pend upon the apostolical and primitive fathers of the church, and such profane historians as may mention the subject from time to time.
At the commencement of the second century, or perhaps quite at the close of the first, Ignatius,* bishop of Antioch, in an epistle which he wrote to the Ephesians, exhorts them to be diligent in assembling together to celebrate the Eucharist. "Hasten therefore," he says, "to meet together frequently at the Eucharist for the glory of God, for when you are continually met together, the powers of Satan are destroyed, and his fiery darts which were meant for sin turn back harmless; your concord and unanimity of faith is his destruction, and those who are joined together in faith are his annoyance; for nothing is better than peace in Christ, in which every warfare is rendered vain, both of things of the air, and things of the earth, for our resisting is "not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."†
A little after Ignatius, Pliny the younger, a Roman magistrate, pro-consul of Bithynia,
* IGNATIUS, one of the apostolic Fathers, educated under the apostles John and Peter. He suffered martyrdom about the year 107, being devoured by wild beasts, by the order of the Emperor Trajan.
Ignatius, Epist. ad Ephes.
examined some Christian converts on the subject of their faith and way of life. His attention was directed to them, by their meeting together early in the morning before the light of day. These are the words which he uses in a letter to the Emperor Trajan: "They affirmed that the whole sum of that sect, or error, lay in this, that they were wont upon a set solemn day to meet together before sunrise, and to sing among themselves a hymn to Christ as God, and to oblige themselves by a sacrament not to commit any wickedness, but to abstain from theft, robbery, adultery; to keep faith, and to restore any pledge entrusted to them; and after that, they retired, and met again at a common meal, in which was nothing extraordinary or criminal."* In the same century, about the year 150, Justin Martyr† gives the following description :"Prayers being finished, we greet one another with mutual embraces; then bread, and a cup of water, mixed with wine, ‡ is offered to him who presides over the brethren; when he has
* Plin. Lib. x. Ep. 97.
JUSTIN MARTYR, the second, in point of chronology, of the primitive fathers, excepting the apostolical.-A. D. 140. He studied the philosophy principally of the Platonic school, until converted to Christianity, and suffered martyrdom in the reign of Marcus Antoninus.
The Church of England differs on this point from the primitive usage, which unquestionably was to mix water with the wine in the celebration of the Eucharist. The council of
received them, he gives praise and glory to the Father of all, in the name of the Son and Holy Ghost, and pursues at some length the Eucharistia, or giving of thanks, because God has thought us worthy of such gifts: when he has finished these prayers and giv
Trent decrees, "that the priests are to mix water with the wine, both because it is believed that Christ did so, and also because from his side water came out with the blood; which sacrament is had in remembrance by this mixture." Would that the council of Trent had been in every point as correct as they are in this; for beyond question it must have been a cup of water and wine that our Lord consecrated, that being the custom of the Jewish passover; for this see Justin Martyr as above, Irenæus, and Clemens Alexandrinus; and even the church of England, though she has at present given up this usage, yet orginally her practice agreed with the Church of Rome. See Liturgy of King Edward VI.
Turretin defends our present practice, and quotes Matt. xxvi. 29, "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine," arguing that there is no mention of the water in the divine command, confessing, however, that "water was mixed with wine. by the ancients, because the use of pure wine was rare among the eastern nations ;" and Bingham says, that the Armenians consecrated only in wine, and that it was reckoned an error in them by Theophylact, and condemned by the council of Trullo. Yet, after all, as there is no express command for this in the institution, notwithstanding this general consent of the ancient church, it is commonly determined by modern divines, as well of the Roman as Protestant persuasion, that it is not essential to the sacrament itself, as the reader that is curious may find demonstrated in Vossius, in his dissertation upon the subject. -See Vossius. Thes. Theol. p. 494. Bingham. Ecc. Antiq. Book xv. Sec. 7.
ing of thanks, all the people say, in joyful assent, Amen.' When the president has performed this giving of thanks, and the people have assented to them by their prayers, those persons who are called deacons and ministers, distribute the bread, and wine mixed with water, over which the thanks have been given, to every one present, and they then carry it to the absent. This food is called by us 'the Eucharist,' and no one is allowed to partake of it, but he who believes our doctrine to be true, and has been washed in the bath (of baptism) for the remission of sins and regeneration, and who lives as Christ has commanded."* And then afterwards he goes on thus: "For the apostles, in the commentaries written by them, which are called gospels, have handed down that Jesus made the institution in this manner when he had given thanks, he received the bread, and said, 'Do this in remembrance of me; this is my body;' and in the same manner when he had received the cup, he said,
This is my blood.' We indeed call these things mutually to memory, and in all the oblations which we offer, we praise, with blessing, the Creator of all, through his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit; and on that day which is Sunday, all who live in towns, or in the country, meet together, and the commentaries of the apostles, or the writings of
* Justin Martyr, Apol. 2, p. 97 and 98.