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by some learned Men to the contrary.) And after the most homble Miniftration in all probability it was, that the Blessed Sacrament was instituted; but what the exact minute was, is uncertain; and what the Disciples posture was at the receiving of it, is uncertain also. That it was a fitting posture with their Bodies ered,
there is not the least Colour to imagine. See the For though variety of gestures was used
at the Paschal Solemnity, yet I do not kneeling.
find that a fitting gesture was used then at all; rather, it was look'd upon then as an Irregular, Indecent, and Scandalous posture. That the Disciples communicated in the usual Table pofture, as they lay along upon Beds, is an Opinion that is somewhat favoured by a Passage in Joh. 13. where we read, that having washed his Disciples Feer, Christ laid himfelf down the second time; and a frer that, we read of St. Fobi's leaning by his Bofom;, so that since this was St. John's posture, 'tis reasonable to believe that 'twas the posture of the rest
and then it may seem probable that they all received the Sacrament as they lay in that manner. But then on the other hand, all this is but bare Probability; for it is uncertain what part of time it was, that the Disciples were leaning, a.
gain in that posture, whether it was before, or at, or after the Administration of the New Sacrament. For after the Palover. Supper, our Lord spent much time in the upper Room with his Disciples ; fome, in instituting this Mystery ; fome, in giving hints to Judas, and in discovering the Treachery of his Heart by degrees: Some, in discoursing upon the necessary Virtue of Humility; some in comforting the Spirits of his sorrowful Retinue; fome in teaching them Love and Charity ; some in Prayer ; and some in finging an Hymn before they departed. Now we cannot certainly tell what particular point of time it was, yet St. John and his Fellow-Difciples lay upon their Pallets the second time ; and therefore it is not evident, whether they communicated of the Symbols of their Master's Passion, in that Recumbent posture or no.
Some again are of Opinion, that the Disciples received the Sacrament in a standing posture; because the Jews were wont to stand when they. Blessed, and Thanks "to God; and they were acts of Worship which the Lord Jesus performed at the Institution of this Ordinance; and there fore he might perform them perhaps after the accustomed manner : but still this is only Opinion and Probability ; it is not
certain, because the Scripture gives us no account of it ; 'tis altogether silent as to this matter; and therefore we dare not (we must not) define positively, or fub. scribe to the truth of it. Upon the fame *Cand possibly better) reasons, what if lome should affirm, that the Disciples received in a kneeling poffure : I know the notion will seem to be new; but
it seems to be built upon as fair an Hypothesis, as any of the former ; at least that they communicated in an Adoring and Worshipping manner. This I am sure of, that there are as substantial and certain grounds for this opinion, as for any of the rest : This plainly appears; that divers Persons being surprised with a sudden apprehension of our Saviour's dignity, of the greatness of his Power, did (after the accustomed manner in that Country) fall down before his Feet, to that St. Peter himself did it, upon the miraculous Draught of Fish, Luke 5. And why might not all the Disciples do this
, at his institution of the Blessed Sacrament (which he told them was the representation of his own Flesh and Blood) especially after he himself had Preached into them a Lecture of Humility, when he had washed their Feet : Indeed, the Sacred Story gives us no Authority to affirm this
positively and dogmatically; but yet there are probable Arguments for Mens Conjedure this way. And as far as I can see, all other Opinions are but Conjectures ; and I hope we may have leave to opide as well as other Men.
BUT we cannot be so confident, as to determine this matter, in regard that we want the Testimony of Scripture, though Reason may be on our side. And herein we would give a Pattern to our Dissenting Brethren, to be modeft in Öpinions, for which they have no solid : Foundation; where, I pray, is the ground " they go upon, touching the unlawfulness
of Kaceling, as a thing repugnant to the Example of the Apostles; since it cannot
be proved, what that Example was? It i might be a posture of Kneeling and Ado6 ration, for ought they know. Sitting it
was not (I dare confidently affirm:) In all probability, 'twas not a standing posture neither ; perhaps it was the posture which we customarily use; if not, it was a leaning posture upon Pallets: And no body now infifteth upon that for an Example
3. AND yet, Thirdly, were the Examples both of Christ's Disciples, and of Christ himself, apparently such; as some Men conjecture, they would not yet be
leading and Authoritative Precedents to us in this point. For 'tis generally agreed by all Christian Divines, that the Example of Christ is not universally to be followed (much less the Example of his Disciples.) In some things 'tis not possible, in other things 'tis not proper, in many things 'tis not necessary for us to follow that Copy. Where we have the Eximple and the Precept too, there indeed we are bound (and I wish Men would confider of those weighty things, rather than of Matters of slender importance.) But where we have no Command, there to take an Example for our Rule, is to make ourselves guilty in some instances of Folly, and in some of Superstition, and Presumption. The Practice of our Lord and his Disciples is no Rule for us in Circumstantials and Rites, unless they are made necessarily Practical by some positive Direction and Command. Now we have no Command in this case, the one way, or the other (no, not evident Example) to direct us, and therefore they talk vainly and impertinently, who Condemn Kneeling at the Sacrament as an unlawful Posture; fince no Law can be derived either from Christ's Precept, or from His or his Disciples Practice, that
doth evidently rise up in Judgment against : it.