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the purpose of obtaining certain advantages by means of their union. Among the heathen, there was a variety of such fellowships, called by the Latins sodalitia. And because many of them were instituted for celebrating the mysteries, or secret worship of their gods, the particular god in honor of whom the fellowship was instituted, was considered as the head of it, and the author of the benefits which the associated expected to derive from their fellowship in his worship. In this sense, the word fellowship is with great propriety applied to the disciples of Christ, united by their common faith into one society or church, for worshipping the only true God, through the mediation of his Son, Jesus Christ, and for receiving from him, through the same mediation, the great blessings of protection and direction in the present life, and of pardon and eternal happiness in the life to come. Agreeably to this account of the christian fellowship, the apostle in the 3d verse contrasts the heads thereof with the heads of the heathen fellowships: truly, our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ. The heads of the christian fellowship are the great Father of the universe, and his Son, Jesus Christ, who governs the world under him. Whereas, the heads of the heathen fellowships were mere nonentities. Or, if any of them were real beings, they had no power in human affairs; consequently, their votaries could derive neither protection, nor any blessing whatever from them. Farther, in ver. 5, the apostle contrasts the knowledge of the nature and perfections of the true God, communicated in the gospel to the members of the christian fellowship, with the knowledge of the pretended heathen divinities, communicated in their mysteries to the initiated. This is the message we have received from him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. He possesses every possible perfection, and is absolutely free from evil. Whereas, the heathen gods, according to the representation given of them in their mysteries, were polluted with every kind of vice. Next, in ver 6, he points out the character and manners of the initiated into the fellowships of the heathen gods. No person could be in the fellowship of the Father, who habitually practised any wickedness; whereas, to be in the fellowship of the heathen gods, it was necessary to imitate them in their character and vices. In ver. 7, the apostle contrasts the benefits which the members of the fellowship of God, who imitate him in his moral qualities, receive from him, with the benefits which the votaries of the heathen gods receive from them. The former are the objects of God's love and care, and are cleansed both from the power and from the punishment of their sins, through the blood of Christ: whereas, the latter receive neither of these blessings from their gods, nor indeed any benefits whatever.
Before this note is concluded, it may be proper to observe, that koinonia, fellowship, is used by the apostle Paul likewise, to denote that intercourse which the members of a fellowship or society have with each other, 2 Cor. vi. 14, 'Now what koinonia (fellowship) intercourse, hath light with darkness?'
Macknight adds, — ' And our fellowship truly is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ. Fellowship with the Father and the Son, means, our being members of that religious community of which the Father and the Son are the heads; and our sharing in all the benefits which the members of that community derive from the Father and the Son, and on account of their relation to them, as votaries or worshippers. Paul likewise hath mentioned this fellowship, under the denomination of the fellowship of Christ, 1 Cor. i. 9, " Faithful is God, by whom ye have been called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord."'
Such are the remarks of Macknight. God and his Son, Jesus Christ, being the heads of the christian fellowship, all Christians are 'the fellows,'' . or members of it. The first christian fellowship was formed at Jerusalem ; and when the Gentiles were converted to the faith of Christ, ihey became 'fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.' Jews and Gentiles formed one fellowship or communion. Christ made of both 'one new man, so making peace.' They were 'one body, and one spirit, even as they were called in one hope of their calling.' They had ' one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in them all.' It was a fellowship formed by the truth, and they loved each other for the truth's sake. Love was the bond of their union. No man was constrained to join this fellowship, or to continue in it contrary to his inclination. If he did not love the heads of the fellowship, and observe its laws, for the honor and good of the fellowship he was expelled. It was the fellowship of God, founded not for his benefit, but the salvation of the world from ignorance and sin ; and when any were saved from these, they were added to it. And in the New Testament, Christians are called ' fellow-heirs, fellow-helpers, fellow-laborers. fellow-soldiers, and fellow-workers.' All the laws of their fellowship tended to promote love to God and man, benevolence of heart, and purity of life. Its institutions were few and simple. One of these is called ' the Lord's Supper;' and to this, the terms communion and fellowship are chiefly applied by Christians in the present day. But the only place where these terms are applied to the Lord's supper, in the New Testament, is the following, to which we shall now pay some attention:
1 Cor. x. 14—23; 'Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, being many, are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: Are not they which eat of the sacrifices, partakers of the altar? What say I then? That the idol is anything? or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, [demons] and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils [demons]. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils [demons]. Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils [demons]. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?' This being the only place where the terms, communion and fellowship are applied to the Lord's supper, let it be observed,
t. The terms so rendered, were not exclusively applied to this ordinance in the apostle's day. They are here indiscriminately applied to the table of the Lord, and the table of a heathen divinity or demon. The heathen had their communions and fellowships as well as Christians; and Paul here exhorted them against the heathen fellowships or communions. He shows them the inconsistency of communing with them: 'I would not that ye should have fellowship with demons.' But now, many people think there is no fellowship or communion but that of Christians at the Lord's table.
2. This passage shows what is meant by communion and fellowship. It means a partaking; and to partake at the table of the Lord or of a demon, was to have communion or fellowship. The word partakers occurs three times in this passage, and is used as an equivalent term for the words communion and fellowship. To partake at the Lord's table, at the Jewish altar, or the table of a demon, was to have communion or fellowship with the worshippers. It was not being in a heathen temple, a Jewish temple, or a Christian temple, which constituted communion and fellowship with the worshippers, but cordially joining with them in their exercises. All wellinformed Christians in Paul's day knew, that an idol was nothing, and that which was sacrificed to an idol was nothing. But for the sake of other Christians, not so well instructed, no disciple was to partake in the heathen sacrifices. See 1 Cor. viii. 9—13.
In ancient times, eating and drinking together, were acts denoting the friendship of the persons, their fellowship and communion with each other. And in eating and drinking at the table of their gods, the heathen considered themselves as being in friendship with their gods, as having fellowship or communion with them. This idea is hinted at in this passage, and is applied both to the table of the Lord and the table of a demon. 'Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils.' And 'Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.'
3. It ought to be particularly noticed, that Paul is not here exhorting one sect of Christians against holding communion and fellowship with another; but is exhorting all Christians against communion or fellowship with idolaters in their worship. He does not say, — 'Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of Unitarians ; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and the table of Universalists.' Nor does he say, 'the things which the Unitarians and Universalists sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and 1 would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.' No, nothing like this is to be found in the Bible. But now, some sects of Christians treat others as if they were heathen. They look on their meeting-houses as heathen or infidel temples, and their worship no better than idolatry. They would just as soon partake at the table of a demon, as with them at the table of the Lord. In justification of their conduct, they sometimes quote the following passages:
2 Cor. vi. 14—IS. 'Be ye not equally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believcth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and 1 will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord almighty.' It is well known, that this passage is quoted to justify the endless sectarian separations among Christians, and their refusing to hold fellowship and communion with each other. At the formation of almost every new sect, the cry is — 'Wherefore, come out from among them.' But a little attention to the passage will show that it is grossly perverted. 1. The church of God is here represented as his temple to dwell in. See also, 1 Peter, ii. 5; 1 Cor. iii. 10; Eph. ii. 19—21. But it is very obvious, the temple or church of God is not here contrasted with another church or temple of God, but with an idol temple, or idolatry: 'What agreement hath the temple of God with idols?' The command is not, 'be ye not unequally yoked together with another sect of Christians,' but ' be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.' Good reasons are given for this command, 'For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?' But where is it ever said — what fellowship hath the Orthodox with the Unitarians and Universalists? or what part hath a Trinitarian with a Unitarian? or, where is there anything tantamount? The whole contrast throughout the passage, is between Christianity and idolatry; Christ and Belial; Christians and infidels; believers and unbelievers; righteousness and unrighteousness; light and darkness. This contrast is so evident in the passage, that when one sect of Christians refuses another their fellowship, they generally deem them infidels or unbelievers. As the passage does not exactly apply to the sect as it is, they alter the character of the sect to suit the passage. We admire their consistency; we are glad they do not pervert the passage; but are sorry they should misrepresent the character of their