« EdellinenJatka »
56. But a certain maid bebeld him as be fat by the fire, and earnestly locked upon bim, and faid, This man was alf with bim.
57. And be denied him, faying, Woman, I know him not.
58. And after a little while another faw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter faid, Man, I am not.
59. And about the space of one hour after, another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him, for he is a Galilean. 60. And Peter faid, Man, I know not what thou fayeft. be yet fpake, the cock crew.
And immediately, while
61. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter; and Peter remembred the word of the Lord, bow be bad faid unto bim, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me
62. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
63. And the men that held Jefus mocked bim, and fmote him.
64. And when they bad blindfolded him, they ftruck him on the face, and asked bim, faying, Propbely, who is it that fmote thee?
65. And many other things blafphemously spake they against him.
66. And affoon as it was day, the Elders of the people, and the chief Priests and the Scribes came together, and led him into their Council,
67. Saying, Art thou the Chrift? Tell us. And be faid unto them, If I tell you, you will not believe.
68. And if I also ask you, you will not answer me, nor let me go.
69. Hereafter fhall the Son of Man fit on the right hand of the power of God. 70. Then faid they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And be faid unto them, Ye fay that I am.
71. And they faid, What need we any farther witness? For we out felves havé beard of bis own mouth.
Y Purpofe is at prefent to treat of the Lord's Supper. Of which this Gospel relates the Inftitution; And the Church requires from every Member, of proper Years and Understanding, a devout Participation of it, at the approaching Feftival of Easter.
The many ufeful Tracts upon this Subject, (fome One whereof, at least, is in almost every hand) have rendred any great Enlargement of mine unneceffary: That therefore, which will beft agree with the Nature of this Work, and abundantly fuffice for the Defign I have in view, is,
First, To confider the Manner, and the End of Inftituting this Sacrament; And then
Secondly, To draw from thence fome Practical Reflections, with relation to it.
In Both thefe I intend to be very Brief and Plain; aud to frame my Difcourfe entirely upon our own Communion-Service. Than which, if carefully attended to, I am bold to affirm, all the Volumes, that have been (or perhaps that ever fhall be) written on this Occafion, cannot give more clear, and pious, and profitable Inftructions.
I begin with the Manner of Inftituting this SacraThe First remarkable Circumftance is Its being done at the Close of the Pafchal Supper. That, (I need not fay) was ordained, as a yearly Commemoration of God's great Mercy, in fparing the Families of the Ifraelites, when his Angel deftroyed the Firstborn of the Egyptians: And fo bringing off his own People, in Safety and Triumph, from a State of Bondage and infupportable Mifery. This Bleffing, great as it was, did yet prefigure One infinitely greater: Which all Mankind were now about to receive, by the Death of Chrift. He, in Allufion to that eminent Type, is called the Lamb of God, and Our Paffover: He therefore, having firft fatisfied the Law, in celebrating the Jewish, proceeds to substitute Another, Feast in its room: Thus, as the reft of Their imperfect Ordinances were swallowed up in Him, fo the Commemoration of the Subftance gave place to that of the Image. Hereby it is eafy to perceive, not only the Fitnefs of fuch an Appointment in general; but the great Affinity it had to a former Establishment, and the Seasonableness of appointing this Sacrament at that Time.
Secondly, Our Lord, upon this Occafion, took Bread, and blessed, and brake it, and faid, This is my Body, which is given (and broken) for you. Here again is a very near Refemblance to the Rites of the Jewish Paffover. In which the Mafter of the Family was wont in general to give God folemn Thanks for the Fruits of the Earth; acknow
John i. 29. 1 Cor. v. 7.
517 ledging Him to be the Creator and Beftower of them: And then, applying himself to the Occafion of that Festival, and taking the Unleavened Bread into his Hand, he faid, This is the Bread of Affliction, which our Fathers did eat in Egypt. A Form, which muft in all Reafon be admitted, for the best Key to that so very near of kin to it, by which our Saviour confecrated Bread, to a Sacramental Ufe, under the New Teftament. Now this Form feems plainly to fignify, that neither the One, nor the Other, is ftrictly and literally the thing it is called; but a Memorial only, and Reprefentation, of that thing, whofe Name it bears. Nor was it indeed poffible, that the Bread in Chrift's Hand could be in reality his Body broken, at a time when his Body was not yet broken. But the breaking of that Bread was a proper Figure, and a lively Image, of those Wounds and Breaches, which were about to be made in his Body. Thus it was to those Disciples then; And thus it is now to Us, by reprefenting them already made. And of this manner of Speech the Scripture furnishes other Inftances in Cafes of like Nature. God himself fays to Abraham of Circumcifion, This is my Covenant, though Abraham was not then actually circumcifed. And when he was fo, it is evident from St. Paul that Circumcifion never was the Covenant itfelf, but only the Evidence and Seal of that Covenant. Mofes, in like manner, fays of the Pafchal Lamb, It is the Lord's Paffover; when yet the Lord had not paffed over their Dwellings, till that Lamb was actually killed, and their Doors fprinkled with its Blood. And afterwards, that Lamb could be no other, than the Memorial of his Paffing over them. So clearly it appears, that the Sign hath often the Title of the Thing fignified; and, that it hath the Name and Significance of a thing to be done, as well as of a thing already done. This is a Figure ufual in Kk 3
Gen. xvii. 10.
Rom. iv. II.
Exod. xii. II.
Cafe, but most natural, and in a manner neceffary, any where a Sacrament is the Subject. For the very Condition of a Sacrament implies, that the thing reprefenting, and that reprefented by it, be different; it being manifeftly abfurd, to make any thing a Sign of itself. And, that we might lie under no Temptation to understand our Saviour's Words, in a Senfe different from thofe other Forms I mentioned; he feems to have fufficiently explained his own meaning, by that Addition, Do this (take, and break, and eat Bread) in remembrance of me. To which Interpretation St. Paul agrees exactly, as I fhall have occafion to obferve by and by. 3. The fame is to be faid, Thirdly, concerning the Other part of this Sacrament. Where our Bleffed Saviour, after Supper took the Cup, and when he had given Thanks, he gave it to them, faying, Drink ye all of this, for this is my Blood of the New Testament which is fhed for you, and for many, for the remiffion of Sins. Or, as St. Luke expresses it, in the Gospel now before us, This Cup is the New Tej.cment in my Blood, which is shed for you. The Cup here correfponds to the Jews Cup of Bleffing, at the Clofe of the Pafchal Feaft; which is now converted to a nobler and better Signification, in the Ufe Chriftians are commanded to make of it. But, by the manner of Expreffion, it is evident, that by the Cup was intended the Wine in it; that this Wine is the Blood of the New Teftament, or the New Testament in Christ's Blood, no farther, than as it reprefents and commemorates that Blood, and the Covenant ratified by the fhedding of it. Which Blood yet was not shed, at the Time, when this Cup first received that Denomination. And therefore here again, to fet us right, St. Paul adds thofe other Words of our Lord, at the Confecration of it, Do this, as oft as ye fhall drink it, in remembrance of me.
Matth. xxvi. 27, 28.
Thus did our Lord, the Night before his Paffion. Thus do his Servants, the Ministers of his Gospel, at every Celebration of his Bleffed Supper, feparate and fanctify the Elements of Bread and Wine to a religious Purpose. So changing them in their Ufe and Significance, and devoting them to the more immediate Service of God. In this regard they are no longer what they were before, Common Food to our Bodies only; but they become Holy Memorials of our Redemption, the Strength and Nourishment of Souls, and a Feast of Thanksgiving, fet forth upon our Lord's own Table. The mention whereof puts me in mind to proceed to the Second Branch of the First General Head; the End, I mean, of this happy Inftitution. Which our Church hath declared to be Twofold, in those Words of her folemn Exhortation, To the end we should always remember the exceeding great Love of our Mafter and only Saviour Jefus Chrift thus dying for us, and the innumerable Benefits, which by his precious Blood-fbedding he bath obtained to us, be bath inftituted and ordained holy Myfteries, as Pledges of his Love, and for a continual Remembrance of his Death, to our great and endless Comfort. Now here
First, Let us confider Thefe Mysteries, as Pledges of his Love. The principal and most valuable Effects of Chrift's Love to Mankind, are Bleffings of a Spiritual and Invisible Nature. And because to Men, who in these Bodies must lead Lives of Sense, it is difficult to entertain a firm Persuasion of things, which do not affect their bodily Organs; Therefore it hath pleafed God all along to make ufe of Sacraments in Religion. That is (as our Church in her Catechifm rightly defines) Outward and visible Signs of inward and fpiritual Grace, ordained by our Lord himself, as means whereby we receive the fame, and pledges to affure us thereof. Thefe then we are commanded to apply, as the Methods made choice of, to convey to us the Benefits they betoken.