Feet Washing By Benjamin Franklin
There is no evidence in Scripture, or in any early l writing, of any such practice as washing feet, intime of worship, or associated with worship,. either public or private, as a religious rite, an ordinance, an act of devotion, or in any other way. There is no intimation that the washing of the saints’ feet alluded to, I. Tim. 5:10, was a religious rite, or an ordinance connected with worship, any more than lodging strangers. It is put down in the list of “good works,” and not religious rites or devotions.
In like manner, the feet washing mentioned, John 13:1-10, was not in time of worship, nor at the time of the Passover, but “before the feast of the Pass-over,” and after supper, or “ supper being ended,” he “ rose from supper and laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself.” This was not in public at all, but in the private circle. It was not in a meeting, nor in time of worship at all, but after a common meal. The washing of feet was not a new thing with them, nor were any surprised at feet washing, for it was common, and a necessity. That which was new about it, was for the Lord and Master to wash the servants’ feet. Had the order been for the servant to wash the Master’s feet, there would have been nothing new to them in it. But they were abashed at the idea of their Lord and Master washing their feet. With this view, Peter said, “ Lord, dost thou wash my feet ?” The Lord responded, “ What I do you know not now; but you shall know hereafter.” Peter persisted, not against feet washing, but against the Lord washing his feet. “ Thou shalt never wash my feet.”
If washing the saints’ feet had been a religious rite connected with the communion, how could Paul have omitted it, when giving that which he received of the Lord? See 1. Cor. 11:20-34. He says, “I received of the Lord that which I delivered to you.” He then proceeds to tell us what it was. See 1. Cor. 11:23-25. This was instituted on “the same night in which the Lord was betrayed.” The occasion of the feet washing (John 13:1-10) was not on “the same night in which the Lord was betrayed,” but “before the feast of the Passover.” The feast of the Passover was over before the communion was instituted. We think the following is true in regard to the matter : That the feet washing was before the Passover, and the institution of the communion was after it; that two days intervened, and that the two things done were also at two places, the one at one place and the other at another. The washing of feet did not occur at the same time nor in the same place of the institution of the communion, nor is there the least evidence that it ever was practiced in connection with the communion in the primitive church, nor is there the least authority for it.
We have never witnessed anything of the kind, but we have been informed repeatedly that where they, practice this ceremony now, they only wash one foot of each person. We would like to know where they get this. It is not in John xiii. 1-10.
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