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James White's Essays

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1. Note how reason plays a role in church practices and doctrine.

Yes. Didn't Ellen White say something to the effect of using "common sense"? Would that tie in here? Or is it applicable to her writings only?

The Lord's Supper and the Emblems Suitable

In the communion of believers with their Lord and with one another, the emblems to be used are bread and the fruit of the vine, or the cup, the broken bread representing his broken body, and the red juice of the grape his spilled blood.

It is an unsettled question with some what kind of bread should be used at the Lord's supper. But we see no objections to the white, raised loaf. And it is an established rule with us not to depart from established custom unless good reasons can be given for such departure. Singularity for the sake of differing from others is no real advance. And such differences often raise prejudice, and hinder the progress of the cause of truth.

But some object to the raised loaf, because on the occasion of the institution of the supper our Lord used bread that was unleavened. It should be remembered that then were the days of unleavened bread, at, which feast, leaven was put out of all their houses. The Jews had no other bread at that time, and no other could used unless obtained of the Gentiles. This seems to be sufficient reason for the use of unraised bread on that ever memorable night. There certainly was nothing in the mangled body of our divine Saviour to be illustrated by leaven, or by its absence in the bread.

Some have carried this matter even so far as to request the removal of the raised loaf after the emblems have been prepared on the table, and have chosen in its stead the brown, rye and indian meal, even mixed with pumpkin and sweetened with molasses! But here is an objection of the same nature that led them to change the emblem; namely, Christ did not use bread at the institution of the supper partly composed of indian corn meal, as this article of food was first found on this hemisphere, among the Indians, known by the name of maize. In order to shun a supposed objection on the one hand, if we run into another, of the same nature, equally objectionable, we do not advance. And there certainly is something to the refined taste very objectionable in representing the body of our dear Saviour by a brown loaf of rye and indian bread. We do not object to the graham loaf, as it is probable that what is now called superfine flour, was not known until the unfortunate introduction of bolts into our mills. The bread made eighteen centuries ago was of barley or wheat meal, ground in hand mills, and probably coarse, made without separating from it what is now called the bran.

But we do not urge the use of the graham bread at the Lord's supper, but choose rather, lest we appear singular, without a good cause, the use of the white loaf.

But what shall be used at the table of the Lord as an emblem of the precious blood of Christ? The answer in Scripture language is, "the fruit of the vine' and " the cup." That the grape-vine is here meant no one will call in question. The prophet, speaking of the death of Christ, represents his garments as being red, as he that, treadeth the wine-press.

Some, however, object to grape wine, because it is fermented, and they have even chosen in its place, water sweetened with molasses. We freely admit that this is a suitable article to go with rye and indian bread. But there is something disgusting in the idea of representing the blood of the holy Jesus by molasses, the cane from which it is made, raised in slavery, and its juice, pressed and boiled in slavery, and with slave hands barreled and .shipped North for free Christians to use instead of the juice of the grape, cultivated on free soil. This objecting to a few drops if domestic wine with which to only wet the lips at be Lord's supper, is carrying total abstinence principles to great length. To those who are conscientious in this matter, we would recommend pure cold water.

We would object to purchasing wine of liquor-venders for two reasons; first, it is patronizing and, to an extent, sustaining, them in an unholy traffic; and, second, you do not know whether you get the fruit of the grape-vine in what they may give you, although the barrel from which they draw it may be branded "Wine." There may be some grape juice in it, but diluted with water, fired with alcohol, and colored with poisons. Know what you use. Let the deacons obtain the cultivated grape, see the wine made, and secured from the air to keep it from fermenting as much as possible. Then you have an article comparing well with the white loaf, fitting the occasion of celebrating the Lord's supper.

James White



Review and Herald, April 16, 1867, p. 6


1. Note how reason plays a role in church practices and doctrine.

2. James White's abolitionist nature is palpable.

3. Don't be different just to be different.

4. I wouldn't say that James White comes across as stringent regarding not using fermented wine ever, at all.

5. Much can be learned from this leader of early Adventism.

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