« ForrigeFortsett »
did, that we shall be no more, but they are in the midst of a defiled, tempting, troublesome world; what temptations and troubles may befall them we do not know. Oh imitate Christ your pattern.
4. Hence we may see what a high esteem Christ has of believers : this was the treasure which he could not quit, he could not die till he had secured it in a safe hand: "I come unto thee, holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me.”
Surely believers are dear to Jesus Christ; and with good reason, for he has paid dear for them: let his dying language, this last farewell, say how he prized them. " The Lord's portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” Deut. 32 : 9. "They are a peculiar treasure to him, above all the people of the earth." Exod. 19:5. Whatever is much upon our hearts when we die, is dear to us indeed. Oh how precious, how dear should Jesus Christ be to us! Were we first and last upon his heart; did he pray for us, did he so wrestle with God for us, when the sorrows of death compassed him about ? How then are we bound, not only to love him, and esteem him, whilst we live, but to be in pangs of love for him when we feel the pangs of death upon us! The very last whisper of our departing souls should be, Blessed be God for Jesus Christ.
SECOND PREPARATIVE ACT OF CHRIST FOR HIS OWN DEATH.
THE LORD'S SUPPER.
" The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread:
and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat : this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood : this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." 1 Cor. 11: 23-25.
Christ had no sooner recommended his dear charge to the Father, but the time of his death hastening on) he institutes his last supper, to be the memorial of his death, in all the churches, until his second coming ; therein graciously providing for the comfort of his people, when he should be removed out of their sight. This his second act manifests no less love than the former. It is like a man's plucking off the ring from his finger when about to die, and delivering it to his dearest friends, to keep as a memorial of him.
In the text there are four things noticed by the apostle respecting this last and lovely act of Christ, namely, the Author, time, institution, and end of this holy, solemn ordinance.
1. The Author of it, the Lord Jesus : it is an effect of his royal power and authority; "And Jesus came, and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and earth : go ye therefore.” Matt. 28 : 18, 19. The government is upon his shoulders. Isa. 9:6. He shall bear the glory. Zech. 6: 13.
2. The time when the Lord Jesus Christ appointed this ordinance. "In the same night in which he was betrayed :" it could not be sooner, because the passover must first be celebrated; nor later, for that night he was apprehended. It is therefore emphatically expressed, "in that same night,” that night for ever to be remembered. He gives, that night, a season of spiritual refreshment to his disciples before the conflict: he appoints, that night, an ordinance in the church, for the confirmation and consolation of his people, in all generations, to the end of the world.
3. The institution itself; in which we have the memorative, significative, instructive signs, bread and wine; and the glorious mysteries represented and shadowed forth by them, namely, Jesus Christ crucified; the proper New Testament nourishment of believers. Bread and wine excellently shadow forth the flesh and blood of a crucified Saviour, not only in their usefulness, but the manner of their preparation. The corn must be ground in the mill, the grapes torn and squeezed in the wine-press, before we can either have bread or wine. And when all this is done, they must be received into the body, or they nourish not. So that these were very fit to be set apart for this use and end; and, as lively signs, shadow forth a crucified Jesus, represent him to us in his red garments.
4. Notice the use, design, and end of this institution. "In remembrance,” or for a memorial " of me.” Oh there is much in this: Christ knew how apt our base hearts would be to forget him, amidst the throng of sensible objects; and how great the loss which that forgetfulness of him and of his sufferings would occasion us; therefore he appoints a sign to be remembered by :
show forth the Lord's death till he come.” Hence we observe, The memorial Christ left with his people in the last supper,
is a special mark of his care and love for them. What! to order his picture (as it were) to be drawn when he was dying, to be left with his spouse! To rend his own flesh, and set flowing his own blood, to be meat
As oft as you
do this, ye
and drink for our souls! Oh what manner of love was this! It is true, his picture in the supper is full of scars and wounds; but these are honorable scars, and highly grace and commend it to his spouse, for whose sake he here received them. "They are marks of love and honor” drawn, that as oft as his people looked upon
the portraiture of him, they might remember and be deeply affected with what he here endured for their sakęs. These are the wounds my dear husband Jesus received
These are the marks of that love which passes the love of creatures. Oh see the love of a Saviour ! Surely the spouse may say of the love of Christ what David, in his lamentations, said of the love of Jonathan, "Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” But to prepare the point to be meat indeed and drink indeed to thy soul, reader, I shall discuss briefly these three things: what it is to remember Christ in the Lord's supper; what aptitude there is in that ordinance, so to bring him to our remembrance ; and how the care and love of Christ is manifested in his leaving such a memorial of himself with us.
I. Remembrance, properly, is the return of the mind to an object with which it has been formerly conversant; and this may be, either speculatively and transiently, or affectionately and permanently. A speculative remembrance is only to call to mind the history of such a person and his sufferings; that Christ was once put to death in the flesh. An affectionate remembrance is when we so call Christ and his death to our minds as to feel the powerful impressions thereof upon our hearts. Thus, "Peter remembered the word of the Lord, and went out, and wept bitterly.” Matt. 26 : 75. His very
heart was melted with that remembrance ; his bowels were pained, he could not refrain, but went out and wept abundantly. Thus Joseph, when he saw his brother Benjamin, which renewed the memory of former
days and endearments, was greatly affected: "And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake to me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son. And Joseph made haste, for bis bowels did yearn upon his brother; and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.” Gen. 43: 29, 30. Such a remembrance of Christ is here intended. This is indeed a gracious remembrance of Christ: the mere speculative remembrance has nothing of grace in it. The time shall come when Judas that betrayed him, and the Jews that pierced him, shall historically remember what was done: "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him ; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” Rev. 1:7. Then, I say, Judas shall remember: This is he whom I perfidiously betrayed. Pilate shall remember: This is he whom I sentenced to be hanged on a tree, though I was convinced of his innocence. Then the soldiers shall remember: This is that face we spit upon, that head we crowned with thorns; lo, this is he whose side we pierced, whose hands and feet we once nailed to the cross. But this remembrance will be their torment, not their benefit. It is not therefore a bare historical, speculative, but a gracious, affectionate, impressive remembrance of Christ that is here intended : and such a remembrance of Christ supposes and includes,
1. The saving knowledge of him. We cannot be said to remember what we never knew; nor to remember savingly, what we never knew savingly. There have been many sweet and gracious transactions and intimacies between Christ and his people, from the time of their first happy acquaintance with him; but much of the sweetness they have had in former hours of communion with him, is lost and gone ; for nothing is more