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mentioning his blood in connection with this new covenant, points out to our special attention that blood as the only ransom price of our redemption, the only meritorious cause of our salvation, and the perfect ratification of every blessing of the Gospel. He seems, too, to intimate, that while he thus obtained an ivfinitely gracious dispensation, it was an adequate motive for every suffering, and a compeusation for all his woe. He saw of the travail of his soul, and was satisfied. Whenever, therefore, we receive the Lord's Supper, we are visibly and sensibly taught and reminded, what a gracious plan of salvation there is, how it was obtained for us, and ratified to us; and we are called by fresh acts of faith in Christ, to claim a renewed interest in it.
The Design of the Lord's Supper. The words of Scripture have hitherto been our guide
HE in the statement of the doctrines connected with the Lord's Supper, and they furnish us with ample information as to its main design.* We have seen that the
This may be a suitable place to give a brief explanation of the NAMES given to this institution.
SACRAMENT is a pame given to it in mmon with baptism. It is not a scriptural name, and it has been variously explained. Some derive it from “ Sacramentum Militare,” the military oath of fidelity among the Romans, and so consider it as representing our solemn dedication of ourselves to be faithful
words of the appointment decidedly express the doctrine of our Saviour's atonement, and point out the
soldiers of Christ. Others from the circumstance of the most ancient translators of the Bible into Latin, usually rendering LUOTnplov, mystery, by the word " sacramentum,” think that it, was adopted in the early ages of the church as an appropriate name for those ordinances in which there is a deep and hidden meaning veiled under a sign or figure. Augustine considers the word Sacrament as equivalent to a HOLY SIGN. (see City of God, Book x, Chap. v.).“ an external offering is a
" visible sacrament of an invisible sacrifice, that is, a holy sign.” This is probably the true definition. The Church of England explains the meaning to be “ an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof:” thus bringing it before us as a divinely appointed means of grace, whereby we receive an increase of grace, and a token of the divine favour.
The BREAKING OF BREAD seems to have been the first and the Scriptural name of this institution, taken from the principal outward action of this ordinance. See Acts ii, 42, 46; xx, 7.
The term COMMUNION was doubtless derived from St. Paul's account of this ordinance, 1 Cor. x, 16. It is descriptive of the fellowship which we then have with Christ, and our Chris. tian brethren.
The LORD'S SUPPER is (as is generally supposed) a name given to this institution by the apostle. I Cor. xi, 20. Being appointed by our Lord immediately after his last supper, and for his own more direct honour, it is so called with great propriety. It has the authority of Christ for its observance, and it brings before us the atonement of Christ as the chief nourishment of our souls. Some have supposed that the apostle alluded to the ancient Love Feasts, or to them and the Communion, under the term Lord's Supper, but this is not very likely.
EUCHARIST, that is, thanksgiving. This is one of the most ancient names given to the Lord's Supper, apparently from the circumstance of our Lord giving thanks at the time of its institution. Chrysostom, in a Homily on the 8th of Matthew, says, “ The dreadful mysteries, full of salvation, which we celebrate, in every assembly, are called the Eucharist, because they are a commemoration of many benefits, and shew forth the principal price of divine providence, and dispose us always to give him Thanks."
OBLATION, SACRIFICE, and MEMORIAL, were names anciently given to this institution, not in the Roman Catholic sense, as
ratification of the new covenant in his blood. The design of this institution, as it respects our practical conduct, will be more evident from the consideration of those expressions of our Lord, this do in remembrance of me ; and those of bis apostles, as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew forth the Lord's death till he come.
The cross of Christ is the glory of the Christian religion. It is the bright centre in which all the rays of spiritual light unite, and from which they proceed. It is so stupendous a fact in itself, that the Creator of all worlds, the great Jehovah, in the person of his Son, should take our nature upon him to expiate the guilt of our sins, that it may well have our constant meditation. Such tremendous sufferings, and such neverending sorrows are averted by the completion of this
has been fully proved by Protestant writers, but as being a spiritual sacrifice of prayer and praise, or as representing the great sacrifice on the cross.
It is often called the CHRISTIAN FÉAST; perhaps in allusion to 1 Cor. v, 8. The soul of the believer has that satisfaction, refreshment, and nourishment in the atonement of Christ, here exhibited, which the hungry person has in his food. Some have considered it as similar in its nature to the ancient feasts upon a sacrifice; and that as they were of old accustomed to partake of the victim in order to gain the benefit of the sacritice, so we partake of the emblems of our great sacrifice, to shew our hope in him; but on this, see Note, chap. i.
It is sometimes called THE SEAL OF THE COVENANT; but this is not a Scriptural, and it does not appear to the author that it is a proper name. The idea is taken from Abraham's circumcision being a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised ; (Rom. iv, 11.) but this by no means implies that the Lord's Supper may justly be called a seal of the covevant. In fact, an unsealed covenant is of no validity. The new covenant was ratified and confirmed by the blood of Christ. As far as it relates to the confirmation of our own faith, it may be said, as Calvin remarks, to be renewed, or rather continued, whenever that sacred cup is presented to us.
grand system; and such incalculable, boundless, and eternal joys, are obtained by this sacrifice of himself, that we shall, through eternity, regard with unspeakable joy this wonderful grace of God in Christ Jesus.
The Lord's Supper-is a solemn ordinance, designed for a perpetual exhibition and commemoration of the atoning sacrifice of the death of Christ. It is a representation to the outward senses of this great truth, that the only Son of God became man, and died for our sins. It teaches us by signs and emblems, those doctrines which the preaching of the Gospel brings before us expressly in words. Herein Christ offers himself to us with all his benefits, and we receive him by faith.
Its great design is to represent, or place before us, to commemorate, and to shew forth the death of Christ as a sacrifice for sin, and to declare our expectation of his coming again.
It is A REPRESENTATION, OR PLACING BEFORE US, OF THE LORD'S DEATH, AS A SACRIFICE FOR sin.- This we have already shewn in former chapters - but let us dwell more particularly on the design of this representation.
Dr. Owen in his Treatise on the Lord's Supper, says in siibstance as
follows. “This Sacrament is a more special and particular representation and setting forth of Christ as our Redeemer, than either the written or preached word. God has appointed him to be evidently crucified before our eyes, that every poor soul that is stung with sin, and ready to die by sin, should look up to him and be healed. John iii, 14, 15; Isa. liii, 5. Let faith represent Christ to our souls as here exhibited of God and
given unto us, as tendered to us and received by us, and incorporated with us. Let us not rest in the out. ward elements and the visible sign. Christ'in bis love; Christ in his blood-shedding, agouy, and prayer; Christ in his death, is here proposed before us, even by him who has appointed the institution. It is a way of proposal full of tenderness and love. To every communicant there is, by the grace and faithfulness of God, and through his ministers, a tender of Jesus Christ in his death and all its benefits. The main question is, whether you will stir up your hearts to a new and fresh receiving of Jesus Christ, who is thus proposed and tendered to you by the love of your Heavenly Father.”
This is a very refreshing view of the Lord's Sapper. The promises and proposals which Almighty God makes to you by his word are more general, and have not that sensible and particular application to the individual which is made by this affecting and tender mode of proposing the blessings of the Gospel. When the minister says to you individually, Take, eat, and gives you individually the bread and the wine, how delightful is the thought that the blessings of salvation by Jesus Christ, are graciously tendered to you! O let us stir up our hearts gladly to receive them!
The Lord's Supper is designed to COMMEMORATE CARIST CRUCIPIED.* To commemorate, is to pre
* The word avayıvnois, used by our Lord, conveys the ideas of commemoration and memorial, as well as remembrance. It may be noticed as a marked distinction between the two covenants, that under the law of Moses there was a commemoration of sins. Heb. x, 3. Under the Gospel there is a commemoration of a Saviour from sin.