What Is It?
THE LORD’S SUPPER
A local church ordinance, not denominational, or social—Intercommunion between different religions bodies, having diverse organizations and diverse faiths, or, between "sister" churches, contrary both to the genius of scriptural church building symbolism of the ordinance.
"Because there is one loaf, we, the many [members of the one church at Corinth] are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf" (1 Cor. 10:17). Trans. Emp. Diaglott.
"Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances as I delivered them unto you" (1 Cor. 11:2).
The Seventh Mark of the Model Ecclesia.
The Lord’s Supper was observed as a local church ordinance. commemorative only of the sacrificial chastisement of Christ for His people, never expressive of personal fellowship, or of courtesy for others, or used as a sacrament.
That the Supper is a commemorative ordinance, instituted by Christ, to be observed in each local church, until He comes again, every Baptist will admit. This implies that each participant must, at least, he a member of some scriptural church, which also implies that he must have been scripturally baptized—immersed. Now the question I wish more particularly to discuss in this chapter is:
Can a local church, scripturally or consistently, extend the invitation to participate beyond her own membership and discipline?
I well know that but few brethren can follow me in this discussion with unprejudiced minds, such is the power of denominational precedent over us all. I shall, without doubt, be confronted, at the very threshold, with the "traditions of fathers," and the almost immemorial "usages" of the denomination. But it weighs not a feather’s weight with me; though it can be proved that Baptists, since the days of Paul, and that by the very churches he planted and instructed, have practiced inter-communion, the question is, "What were the instructions he gave?" These must constitute the "Old Landmarks" to guide us in the observance of this ordinance, and not "denominational usage," or the mistakes and errors of our fathers, if our ancestors did, indeed, err from the "old paths." The writer can easily remember when Baptist Associations were wont to close their sessions by celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and this they did for years; but was it right because our fathers did it? Who will advocate this practice today, or what Association on this continent will presume to administer the supper? And yet, what a clamor would have been raised about the ears of the man who, in those days, had lifted his voice in condemnation of it! Fifty years our fathers were wont to advise the churches to send their licentiates to the Association to receive ordination, and it was wont to select a Presbytery, and between them ordain the minister. But who will advocate so unscriptural a procedure now? Twenty-five or thirty years ago, the overwhelming majority of our churches in the South would indorse a Campbellite, and alien immersion as valid; but there is not an Association in the South, let the question be fairly laid before it, would indorse them today. And why? Because the attention of the churches have been called to a serious consideration of the question by discussions, pro and con, and scriptural truth and consistency have triumphed.
Now, touching the Lord’s Supper, Baptists have not departed from "the form of sound words" in formulating their belief. They universally hold that it is a local church ordinance, i.e., an ordinance to be observed in and by a local church, but they have generally fallen into a "slip-shod" way of observing it, quite as unscriptural as either of the bad "usages" I have mentioned above.
They now generally observe it, not as a strictly local church ordinance, i.e., confined to the members of the singular church celebrating the rite, but as a denominational observance, as belonging to the kingdom rather than to each local organization of the kingdom. Many and great evils, and gross inconsistencies, damaging to our denominational influence and growth, have sprung out of this practice, which it is my object to point out. Encouraged, as my faith is by the past, I believe that in a few years our churches will, as a body, return to the "old paths," in this, as in other matters, and walk in them, and find rest from the opposition which they have justly brought down upon their own heads.
Arguments From Our Church Constitution.
1. It is a local church ordinance.
A church, by its constitution, is strictly an independent body. It absolutely controls its own acts, and can, in no sense, control those of any other church. Her prerogatives, like her responsibilities, terminate with herself, and her authority is limited, as to the objects over which it is exercised, to her own membership, and she has not a church privilege she can extend to those outside her pale. If, then, the supper was committed to each local church, its observance was limited to the membership of each church, and it can rightly be observed, only by the united membership of such churches, and not by them, in common with the membership of other churches. A church can extend her privileges, no more than her discipline, beyond her organization.
I never heard an intelligent Baptist claim that the members of other Baptist churches have a right to participate in the supper, when spread in any Baptist Church. And why? Because they know it is a local church ordinance, like voting in the administration of the government of said church. If Christ did not institute it to be observed by local churches as such, but for the denomination—the churches, and their members generally, wherever they might chance to be—then each member in good standing, would have a right to go uninvited to the supper, wherever spread, and the local church would have no right to prevent him; but in that case, the individual churches could not be made responsible for any "leaven" that might be introduced into the feast, nor would it be in the power of any local church to obey the apostolic injunction, "purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. Therefore, let us keep the feast [observe the supper], not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness," etc. But what Christ did not authorize in the observance of the supper, He certainly forbade, and, if He did command its observance by each local church as such, He forbade its being converted into a denominational or a social ordinance, i.e., observed by a particular church in common with parts of as many churches as may chance to be present. It certainly is either the one thing or the other—limited or unlimited. In this respect, Baptists, who can not feel the force of the argument from the specifications of one thing prohibiting another, can not blame Pedobaptists for not seeing that, when Christ specified believers only in the commission, He forbade the baptism of unbelievers, bells, and babies.
Again, when a person, having accepted Christ as his Savior, and seeks, as he should, the privileges of His church, he unites with a local church only, and not with the denomination generally, and receives and enjoys church privileges in that church alone. He can vote on all questions of ecclesiastical polity in that particular church, and in no other. He can participate in the supper in that church and no other, since he is under the watch and care of that church and no other.
2. To each local church is committed the sole guardianship of the ordinances she administers.
She is commanded to allow only members possessing certain qualifications, to come to the feast. Any who may have fallen into heresies, or whose Christian conversation is not such as becometh godliness—drunkards, fornicators, covetous, revilers, extortioners, etc.—with such she is not to eat.
The church at Corinth was not merely permitted, but peremptorily commanded, to prohibit the table to every person she did not know—so far as she had the ability to learn—was free from leaven: "Purge out the old leaven, that ye [the church celebrating] may be a new lump." "Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven," etc.
Each church, then, is made the guardian of this feast. She can not alienate the responsibility; she must see that no disqualified person comes to the table; she must, then, have absolute control of the supper; but, if it is her duty to invite the members of all Baptist Churches present, regardless of their known character, then she has no power to discharge this duty. She would evidently have no control over this ordinance; would be robbed of one of her most important prerogatives as a church. But, if it is not her duty to invite any but her own members, then, she ought not to do it, and, if the act robs her of the power to obey the laws of her Head, and preserve the purity of this sacred ordinance, then, she may know the practice is wrong, and fraught with evil.
I conclude with this argument in logical form:
1. Any practice that puts it out of the power of the church to discharge a positive command of Christ must be sinful, and forbidden by Christ.
2. The practice of inviting all members of Baptist Churches present, to observe the Lord’s Supper, does put it out of the power of that church to discharge ‘the positive duty enjoined (1 Cor. 5).
3. Therefore, the practice of inviting all members of Baptist Churches present is sinful and forbidden by Christ (Q. E .D.).
Argument from the Symbolism of the Supper.
The symbol can not be appropriate where the thing signified is wanting—and conversely: Those things can not be appropriate, or scriptural, that contradict the symbol.
No one will question these axioms, and all Baptists believe that the elements Christ employed were symbolic of great facts. Let us see what they symbolized.
The One Loaf.—There should be but one loaf upon the table. Christ used but one. Paul specifies the use of but one: "Because there is one loaf, we, the many, are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf" (1 Cor. 11:17). The church at Corinth were to partake of but one loaf, and in this respect she is the model for all the churches of Christ, in all ages.
This one, undivided loaf was designed to teach that only one undivided body—organization—church as such—not several churches as an Association, nor parts of several—was authorized to celebrate this ordinance, or could do it without vitiating it. The symbolic teachings of the "one loaf" is stultified whenever one church, with the fragments of a dozen others, attempts to observe the supper. Could the administrator say, "We are one body"—or organization, or church—and tell the truth?
Here Paul specifies that one, and only one, church like that at Corinth should come together "in church," i. e., as a single church, and in "church capacity," to observe this ordinance. An organization assembles "in lodge" to receive members, and perform their rites, and so a local church must organize as such, to observe the supper; a plurality of churches, or parts of churches, can not.
Artos.—The loaf was of one specific kind and quality of flour. It was not a loaf of barley, nor of maize; neither of oat nor rye flour, much less a mixture of these, but it is specified one wheaten loaf—"heis artos not, madza"—and this loaf was not of unbolted, but of "fine flour"—all the impurities of the wheat carefully removed. God never permitted any other flour to be used in His ordinances of old, or offered in any sacrifice upon His altars. It certainly had a meaning, as a type; it certainly has a symbol in the church of Christ. The ordinance is vitiated, if any other element than fine wheaten flour is used in the supper.
The Signification of the Fine Wheaten-Loaf.
The quality of the loaf signified the one faith, and that the pure faith once delivered to the saints unadulterated. Where there are divers faiths in the same church, this ordinance can not be observed. This was the case—divisions produced by heresies —in the church at Corinth when Paul wrote his first letter: "I hear that there are divisions among you; for there must be heresies among you, etc. This state inhibited the celebration of the Supper by that church until they were healed. Now, suppose the parties holding these heresies had separated, and organized each a Baptist Church in the city of Corinth, could they have communed together as churches or as parts of churches? The faith would not have been the same, and, therefore, there must have been error, adulteration, leaven, somewhere. Suppose the First Baptist Church in Memphis, upon a rigid examination, should find that several of its members. were high Calvinists, and a part low Arminians, several Unitarians, some, conscientious Universalists, and yet others Spiritualists—faiths based upon doctrines fundamentally opposed—would the church be justified in celebrating the Supper? Would not the symbolism of the one wheaten loaf be vitiated? But should they amicably separate and form five different churches in this city, could the First Church scripturally invite the membership of all these, who once belonged to her body, to celebrate the Supper with her? If not—why not? Because such a communion would make the symbolism exhibit a falsehood. The one fine-flour of the loaf shows forth that the communicants have one and the same unadulterated faith of the gospel; and, behold, they have six different faiths between them! Such an observance of the sacred Supper would be a profanation of it, and make the participants guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
Thus the symbolism of the one loaf of one flour forever settles the question of their communion by different sects, and inter-communion among Baptist Churches; they are not the "one body," organization, church, nor have they the same faith. Will Protestants claim that they and Catholics are one—the self-same body—organization? If not, they can not observe the supper together. Will they claim that their faith is one? Will Protestants claim that their various organizations are one and the same? Will Presbyterians aver that the Arminianism of the Methodists is the same as Calvinism? They are the poles asunder. How, then, without profaning the feast, without making the symbolism testify to a falsehood, can Presbyterians, Methodists, and Campbellites observe the supper together? They certainly are not one body, one church; nor have they the one and the same faith.
The last time the Old and New School Presbyterian assemblies met the same year in Philadelphia, the New School sent a courteous invitation to the Old School assembly to unite with them in a joint celebration of the Lord’s Supper. This invitation was scornfully rejected, as an open insult by the Old School—"for," said a learned doctor of divinity, "they ask us to stultify ourselves, and act a lie in the face of Christendom. Why did we separate? Because we hold to different faiths, and, therefore, could not commune together. And now they ask us to say to the world, by our act, that we are one body, and hold one and the self-same faith, which is not true." If more proof is needed that the leaders of the very bodies who plead loudest for open communion, know that it is unscriptural and sinful, I appeal to the action of the decisions of synods and their standard authorities. One or two must suffice. From "Synodical Records," vol. 3, page 240, I quote this from a report adapted:
"The committee are of opinion that for Presbyterians to hold communion in sealing ordinances with those who belong to churches holding doctrines contrary to our standards (as do Baptists, Methodists, and all others), is incompatible with the purity and peace of the (Presbyterian) Church, and highly prejudicial to the truth as it is in Jesus. Nor can such communion answer any valuable purpose to those who practice it, etc."
Bro. D. Monfort, Presbyterian, in a series of letters, gives the following reasons for not giving free invitations to other churches, and especially Baptists:
"1. They do not belong to the fellowship (i.e., of the Presbyterian Church), and therefore they can not consistently receive the tokens of it. 2. They profess to be conscientious in refusing the fellowship, and it is uncharitable to ask them to violate their consciences, etc." (Letter IV).
Bishop Hedding, Methodist, in his work on the administration of the Discipline, asks: "Is it proper for a preacher to give out a general invitation in the congregation to members in good standing in other churches to come to the Lord’s Supper?"
"No; for the most unworthy persons are apt to think themselves in good standing, etc."
And again: "There are some communities, called churches which, from heretical doctrines or immoral practices, have no claim to the privileges of Christians, and ought not to be admitted to the communion of any Christian people" (Pages 72, 73).
This is what the Discipline enjoins: "But no person shall be admitted to the Lord’s Supper among us who is guilty of any practice for which we would exclude a member of our Church."
"Inveighing against our doctrines or discipline" are the capital charges mentioned in section 5; and what Presbyterian or Baptist does not oppose both the doctrine and discipline of Methodism as unscriptural and evil? Can these bodies practice open communion?
No church may dare to celebrate the ordinances unless she possesses the faith and the facts symbolized.
The Unleavened Loaf.—The loaf used by Christ was one of those prepared for the Passover Supper, and was, therefore unleavened. God required, on pain of death, that no leaven should be used in any bread brought to His altar, or mingled in any sacrifice or ordinance typical of the sacrifice of Christ for us. All the burnt offerings for sin typified Christ’s sacrifice, and the Paschal Feast was an eminent type of Christ, our Passover. He certainly had good and sufficient reasons for using this sort of bread. It was not mere capriciousness in Him. But He explained to the Jews why He instituted the unleavened bread of the passover. It was to teach them and their children, in the generations following, that He, their Sovereign Lord, alone and unassisted, had delivered them and brought them up out of Egypt: "Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten" (Ex. 13:3). Their salvation was of the Lord alone. To symbolize this fact, all leaven of every sort was to be diligently sought for in all their coasts for 7 days, and burned with fire; and by this they were given to understand that God was jealous of His honor, and that no part of their salvation was ever to be ascribed to either man or idol. The passover was a type pointing forward to what the symbols of the supper point back to, the sovereign grace of God in Christ, by whom we are redeemed from the "power of sin and Satan," and not by works of righteousness which we have done or may do; and, therefore, it is absolutely essential to the scriptural observance of the supper that unleavened bread should be used. With leavened bread, Paul’s allusion would be meaningless where he recognizes the church at Corinth as solely responsible for the purity of the sacred feast entrusted to her guardianship: "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye [the church at Corinth] may be a new lump," etc. The one unleavened wheaten loaf, then, symbolized that the members composing that church celebrating, must be without the leaven of wickedness, etc. "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor. 5:8). Certainly no thoughtful Christian can doubt that the loaf upon the table should be without leaven, when it is required that the body it represents should be, and when this is required by Paul in order that the significance of the feast be not vitiated.
The Wine.—The Savior used wine made of "the grape" —it was "the fruit of the vine." He commanded; and, if it was not lawful for leaven to be used in this feast, He certainly did not use an element that was little less than leaven itself. It could not have been unfermented wine He used and commanded, as some, more zealous than wise, are now teaching; for unfermented wine, in the first place, is a misnomer. There never was, there can not be, a drop of wine without fermentation. It is must, and not wine, until fermentation ensues, and unfermented juice of the grape is but a mass of leaven. It is this element in the juice that causes it to ferment, and fermentation is the process by which it throws off, and clears itself, of this impurity. Thoroughly fermented wine contains no leaven, and, therefore, it is only after this natural clarification of itself that the Savior used, and commanded His churches to use it; and, limiting this element to wine, He forbade the use of any other liquid than the pure juice of the grape, when fermented and clarified.
One Cup only should be used, to preserve the symbolism; yet, where the church is large, and the wine to be used necessarily considerable, it can be placed upon the table in one vessel, and thanks given, before it is divided into smaller ones, to be distributed. The church, though many, may be said, all to drink of one wine, and of one vessel, or measure of wine.
As a crowning proof that no leaven must be used at this feast, either in the bread or wine, I refer the Bible student to those burnt-offerings of old, which were typical of Christ. No leaven was allowed to be used (Ex. 34:25; Lev. 2:11; Lev. 10:12; Amos 4:5), and it was the unleavened juice of the grape, wine only, that was used in the drink offerings. As was the type, so should be the symbol. The elements of the feast were, unleavened wheaten loaf and the unleavened fruit of the vine.
The Argument From the Design of the Supper.
Ritualists, whether Protestants or Romanists, have perverted this ordinance, as well as baptism, into a "sacrament" and "seal" of salvation; thus making it indispensable to the salvation of both infants and adults, and, in addition to this, they teach that the supper is a mark of Christian courtesy, or sign of Christian fellowship, in partaking of which Christians commune with one another.
I have not space in this work to notice and expose the doctrine of transubstantiation, as taught by Romanists, nor of con-substantiation, as held by Lutherans, nor that of the "mystical body" after consecration, as taught by Episcopalians and Methodists.
The Savior expressed the whole design when he said: "Do this in remembrance of me." It is, therefore, nothing more and nothing less, than a simple ordinance, commemorative of what Christ is, and what He has done for us—a remembrance of Him.
It is, in no sense, a "sacrament." It conveys no saving grace, nor can it be a "converting rite;" for the converted, the regenerated, and saved, alone may, scripturally, partake of it. It is as gross a perversion of this ordinance, for Protestants to teach that it is a ‘seal," or a "sacrament of salvation," as for Catholics to teach it is the veritable body, and blood, and divinity of Christ; and, for this reason, Baptists can not unite with either in its celebration, if it was not a church ordinance. This statement will be questioned by those who know little of the teachings of the Word of God, and less of the teachings of Protestants.
Presbyterians teach that it is both a "sacrament" of salvation, and a seal of the Covenant of Grace; which, if true, no one ever was, or can be, saved without them.
Q.—What are the sacraments of the New Testament?
A.—The sacraments of the New Testament are baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Q.—What is a sacrament?
A.—It is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein, by sensible signs, Christ and the benefits of the new covenant are represented, sealed and applied to believers (Conf. Faith, p. 335).
Q.—Wherein do the sacraments of baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, agree?
A.—The sacraments of baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, agree in that the author of both is God; the spiritual part of both is Christ and His benefits; both are seals of the same covenant (p. 297).
The Methodist "church" teaches the same pernicious doctrine, i.e., that the supper, like baptism, is a sacrament of salvation, to be eaten by the unregenerate as a means of obtaining regeneration, the pardon of sins, and salvation.
In their articles of faith it is declared to be a "sacrament." Wesley, the founder of the sect, explains what his church holds and teaches on this ordinance:
"The Lord’s Supper was ordained by God to be a means of conveying to men either preventing, or justifying, or sanctifying grace, according to their several necessities, . . . or, to renew their souls in the image of God. To come to the Supper of the Lord no fitness is required at the time of communicating, but a sense of our state of utter sinfulness and helplessness. Every one who knows he is fit for hell, being just fit to come to Christ, in this as well as all other ways of his appointment. . . . In latter times, many [these are Baptists] have affirmed that the Lord’s Supper is not a converting ordinance. . . The falsehood of this objection appears both from Scripture precept and example" (Wesleyana, pp. 283, 284).
The ordinance is not more grossly perverted by the Catholics. How a Baptist, or a Christian, at all conversant with the Bible—a regenerate person—can dare to partake of the Supper as a sacrament, or a "seal," to secure conversion, justification, or remission of sins, I can not imagine. All who partake for any such purpose, eat and drink "unworthily," and make themselves guilty of the body and blood of Christ.
The ordinance is a simple memorial of Christ’s work and love for us, a photograph He has left His betrothed Bride till He comes again to marry her; and He asks her not to worship it, but to look upon it as oft as she pleases, with the sole purpose of remembering Him and no one else, on earth or in heaven. It is one little service He claims all for Himself, and will allow no thought to be given to another. There are times when we may properly think of earthly friends—of mother, of dear wife, husband, of precious children, of departed saints, of living relatives, but it would be doing insult to Christ, and profaning this sacred memorial, to remember any one but "Him who loved us and died for us."
We do not, therefore, commune with one another at the Lord’s Table, but with Christ only, if we eat and drink "worthily." We have no occasion to leave or absent ourselves from the supper lest we indorse, by our act, the Christian character of some one who may be there. We disobey a positive command of Christ. "Do it," and we refuse to remember Him when we neglect this duty.
Nor is it designed to be used as an expression of fellowship, or "courtesy" towards other Christians or members of other Baptist Churches. The ordinance is profaned and eaten "unworthily" when it is observed with this design. Baptists of other churches present can not complain, if they are not invited, of any injustice done them, for no right of theirs, or duty of the celebrating church, has been violated or omitted; and, as I have shown, no discourtesy has been shown them, because the ordinance was not given for the purpose of expressing our courtesy to others.
The command is: "Do This In Remembrance Of Me."
The Opinions of Eminent Baptists
We are not altogether alone in the views above expressed. at least so far as the principle is concerned.
Bro. A. P. Williams, in his "Lord’s Supper," says: "Having done these things [i. e., believed, been baptized, and added to the church] he has a right to the communion in the church to which he has been added; but nowhere else. As he had no general right when running at large, so he has no general right now" (p. 93).
Now, if he has no right to the Supper anywhere, save in his own church, it is because Christ has not given him authority to eat anywhere else, which is tantamount to a positive prohibition. It is certain that no other church has any right to extend her church privileges beyond her own bounds.
If he has no right to commune anywhere else, it is because Christ has not given him the right, and therefore, he has no right to claim, or to exercise the right. It is not true, as open and intercommunionists assert, that "they are entitled to the Supper wherever they find it."
"Now, here (Acts 2:41, 42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 10:16, 17) it is plainly argued that this joint participation in the one cup, and the one bread is designed to show that the participants are but one body; and, as such, they share this joint participation; but, if the communion were obligatory upon Christians as individuals, and not as church members, it could not show this" (p. 70).
Yet Bro. Williams, influenced by feeling or usage, says that members of other Baptist Churches, while they have no right on the premises, still may be invited as an act of "courtesy." But, according to his own teachings, as above, the symbolism of the Supper is vitiated whenever it is done; for it is no longer a church ordinance, but a denominational or social rite.
Prof. W. W. Gardner, Bethel College, Kentucky, in his able work on "Church Communion," says: "The same is equally true of communion at the Lord’s Tables which is a church act, and the appointed token, not of the Christian, nor denominational, but of church-fellowship subsisting between communicants at the same table. Hence, it follows that a member of one Baptist Church has no more right, as a right, to claim communion in another Baptist Church than he has to claim the right of voting; for both are equally church acts and church privileges. The Lord’s Supper being a church ordinance, as all admit, and every church being required to exercise discipline over all its communicants, it necessarily follows that no church can scripturally extend its communion beyond the limits of its discipline. And this in fact, settles the question of church communion, and restricts the Lord’s Supper to the members of each particular church as such" (pp. 18, 19).
Bro. Richard Fuller—"If any thing can be plain to those who prefer the Word of God to sentimentalism and popularity, it is that baptism is to follow faith immediately; that it is an individual duty, and must precede membership; and that as the Passover was a meal for each family only, so the Supper is a family repast, for the members of that particular church in which the table is spread. This is so plain to our minds, hearts, consciences, that there is never any discussion about it."
If the supper is a repast for the members of each particular church only, it is because the Divine law governing the feast has made it so, and, therefore, it would be in violation of that law for a church to invite, or allow others than her own members, to partake of it; and equally so for members of another church to accept such an unlawful invitation. This is so plain to my mind that discussion is useless.
President Robinson, of Brown University, Rhode Island, and formerly pastor of the First Church of Providence, believing that the Supper is an ordinance of the local church, never extended an invitation to members of Baptist Churches present, whether ministers or laymen.
Bro. Curtis, author of an able work on "Communion, and Progress of Baptist Principles:" "Thus, then it is clear [i.e., from 1 Cor. 15] that the Lord’s Supper is given in charge to those visible churches of Christ, in the midst of which He has promised to walk and dwell (Rev. 2:1). To each of these it belongs to celebrate it as one family [Then certainly not as parts of different families or bodies.] The members of that particular church are to be tarried for, and it is to be a symbol of their relations, as members, to each other. In all ordinary cases, it should be partaken of by each Christian in the particular church of which he is a member" (Progress of Baptist Principles, p. 307).
It is only from the Scriptures we learn how an ordinance is to be ordinarily observed. From what book can Bro. Curtis, or any one else, learn how they are to be extra ordinarily observed? The one specified form of their observance is the only form we may observe. Christ, nor His apostles, gave exceptional cases, or warrant us in the least deviation whatever, in any circumstance.
Several of the leading Baptist papers of America have given a decided opinion upon the subject. The National Baptist, Philadelphia, warmly approved the course of Bro. Robinson; the Western Baptist warmly approved the position of Bro. Fuller; and commenting upon our lecture upon this subject in the Metropolitan Temple, San Francisco, the Evangel, the Baptist organ of California, thus expressed its unqualified endorsement:
"Some four or five years ago we were appointed to write an essay on the Lord’s Supper; and, after the most thorough examination we were able to give the subject, we were driven to the following conclusion, viz.: that the Supper is an ordinance within a Gospel church, and that there is no authority in the Scriptures for extending it beyond the jurisdiction of the church administering the ordinance. From this conclusion we drew the practical inference that, as there is no Scripture warranting inter-communion among the members of different churches of the same faith and order, Baptists who claim that the Scriptures are a sufficient rule of faith and practice, ought to stop just where the law stops; in other words, the churches should restrict the ordinances to those over whom they exercise jurisdiction."
This is an important "Landmark" of the primitive churches, which every friend of scriptural order should assist in restoring to its erect and firm position.