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We will only notice further with respect to the Jewish Dispensation, THE RATIFICATION of it. The covenant made at Mount Sinai was ratified by the sprinkling of blood, After the victim had been sacrificed unto the Lord, we read, Moses took half of the blood, and put in basons, and half of the blood he .sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people, and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words. Exod. xxiv; Heb. ix, 19-20. Such was the introduction of that large and grand system of typical atonements, which continued in force till He appeared who put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Heb. ix, 26.
Let us now view the appointment of the Lord's Supper. It was at the feast of the Passover, and, as is generally supposed, immediately after partaking of it, and probably in the way that has been described, that our Lord instituted this ordinance, to be a constant inemorial of his atonement for sin, and of his ratification of a better covenant by his own death.
The true Paschal Lamb, even Jesus Christ, being about to be offered up as a sacrifice for our sins, the type and shadow, now that the antitype and substance were come, were no longer to be used. The slaying of the lamb was therefore to be relinquished, and instead of the Paschal Feast of remembrance, the feast of the Lord's Supper was appointed. One was instituted the night before the deliverance from Egypt, the other the night before our deliverance from our iniquities. One commemorated redemption from Egyptian bon
dage, the other, a better redemption from the bondage of sin. One prefigured, by shedding of blood, the redemption of Christ; the other would exhibit, by striking emblems, a redemption already accomplished. By this new ordinance our Lord told his disciples, the Jewish Dispensation was passing away, and the Christian, clearer and fuller in its light, and richer in its blessings, was established in its place.
With this information, the words recording the appointment of this ordinance will be more easily understood. We have an account of them in four different parts of the New Testament. Matt. xxvi, 26-30; Mark xiv, 22-26; Luke xxii, 18-20; 1 Cor. xi, 23–25, As they in some measure vary, the whole are here given.
Matt. xxvi. Mark xiv. Luke xxii. 1 Cor. xi.
(26.) And as (22.) And as (19.) And he (23.) The Lord they were eating, they dia took bread, and Jesus, the same Jesus took bread Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and night in which and blessed it, and blessed, and brake it, and he was betrayed, and brake it, and brake it, and gave unto them, took bread, gave to the dis
gave to them, and saying, This is (2:1.) And when ciples, and said, said, Take, eat ;
my body which he
had given Take, eat; this this is my body. is given for you :
thanks, he brake is my body.
this do in remem- it, and said, brance of me.
Take, eat: this is my body which is broken for you : this do, in remembrance of
(47.) And he (23.) And he (20.) Likewise
(25.) After the took the cup, and took the cup, and also the cup af. same manner he gave thanks, and when he
ter supper, say.
took the gave it to them, given thanks, he ing, This cup
cup, when he had saying, Drink ye gave it to them:
the New Testa- supped, saying, all of it.
blood This cup is the drank of it.
which is shed for New Testament (28.) For this (24.) And he you.
in my blood : is my blood of said unto them,
this do ye, as oft the New Testa- This is my blood
as ye drink it, in ment, which is of the New Tes
remembrance of shed for many tament, which is
me. for the remission shed for many.
Matt. xxvi. Mark xiv. Luke xxii.
(29.) But I say (25.) Verily I (18.) For I say unto you, I will
say unto you, I unto you, I will not drink hence- will
drink no not drink of the
more of the fruit fruit of the vine,
the kingdom of
These different passages have been put together in a harmony as follows.
The Lord Jesus, the-same night in which he was betrayed, as they were eating, took bread: and when he had blessed it, and given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body which is given and broken for you; this do, in remembrance of me.
And, after the same manner, he also took the cup, after supper ; and gave thanks, and gave it to them; saying, Drink ye all of it; and they all drank of it, and he said unto them, This is my blood of the New Testament, and this
is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins. This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it new with you in the kingdom of my Father, in the kingdom of God. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.
It is evident that there are several expressions here
used which require to be duly understood, before we can intelligently observe this ordinance. Why are bread and wine to be used on this occasion? In what sense was the bread our Saviour's body? how was the cup his blood ? What is the meaning of his body given and broken; and his blood shed for us? Why are we to eat this bread and drink of this cup ? What is the nature of the New Testament? In what views are we to remember Christ, and what is the necessity and benefit of so doing? The consideration of some of these particulars will properly come in this chapter; but others of them which relate more directly to the great doctrines of the Gospel, will require more full discussion in distinct chapters.
Do you ask why BREAD WAS APPOINTED TO Be used?-We reply, it was not only at hand when our Lord appointed the institution, but it is a most significant emblem of that which it was intended to represent. It is so not merely in the mode of its preparation for our use, but as, when prepared, it is the ordinary support of man, the most common, pecessary, and wholesome kind of food. What then can better, tepresent that incarnate, suffering, and dying Saviour, who is the food of our souls ?
Do you ask why WINE WAS APPOINTED? We reply, this also was not only at hand, but the prepa. ration of wine is likewise a significant emblem of our Saviour's sufferings. Wine, too, is in its properties strengthening and exhilarating; give wine unto those that be of heavy hearts, (in the margin, bitter of soul, Prov. xxxi, 6.) It is wine that maketh glad such hearts. Psalm cxiv, 16. And in this view, wine is an apt figure of that blood of Christ, which being forced from
his bruised body, and shed for our sins, is suited to revive and comfort the fainting spirit of man.*
Do you ask, WHY ARE BOTH BREAD AND WINE APPOINTED? Various reasons may be given for this. Some have thought that the thing may be doubled to shew the certainty and importance of it. Gen. xli, 32. But there are other more forcible reasons. ration of the blood from the body marks more strongly the death of the victim as a sacrifice. The blood was considered in a peculiar way to be the life of every living creature, and that which made an atonement for the soul. Lev. xvii, 11. Again, it is said, (ver, 14.) with marked emphasis, It is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is
The direction to drink wine as representing the blood of Christ, seems contrary to the analogy of the Jewish Dispensation, where both people and priests were forbidden to taste the blood in any case; nor were the priests even permitted to eat the flesh of the sin offering. Some have supposed that our Lord designed to point out the nearer communion which we have with God, and the clearer discoveries of the way of pardon through the Gospel. “We have,” says Bishop Patrick,“ such a token and pledge of forgiveness by this sacrifice, as the ancient people of God had not, of forgiveness of their offences by the blood that, was offered at their altar.” Heb. xiii. 10. Perhaps, however, it might serve to intimate more strongly, as it doubtless would, by its being contrary to the current of all their prejudices, that Christ actually poured out his soul unto death, in giving his blood; it may also shew that the words of our Lord in this ordinance, will not bear in any view, a literal interpretation. The . peculiar direction that all should drink of it, and the assurance that all did drink, is observable in connection with the practice of the Roman Catholics to deny the cup to the laity. Nor does the propriety of that practice appear from the assertion sometimes made, that “ all then present were ministers ;" for, not to say that the disciples could at that time be only considered as believers in general, such a view of the matter would prove too much; it would go to shew that the laity should be denied the bread as well as the wine.
The order of the words is instructive. It is first take, and then eat. Christ is to be ours in possession and claim, and afterwards ours in fruition and enjoyment; and then this is my body, to intimate that the sacred elements are not properly to be called the body of Christ till eaten.