« السابقةمتابعة »
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: As oft as you do this, ye 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
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 sakes. These are the wounds my dear husband Jesus received for me. 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 his 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
inconstant than our spiritual comforts. Here, at the Lord's table, our old acquaintance is renewed, and the remembrance of his goodness and love revived: "We will remember thy love more than wine; the upright love thee." Cant. 1:4.
2. Such a remembrance of Christ includes faith. Without discerning Christ in his supper, there is no remembrance of him; and, without faith, no discerning Christ there. But when the precious eye of faith hath spied Christ, under the vail, it presently calls up the affections, saying, "Come see the Lord." These are the wounds he received from me. This is he that loved me, and gave himself for me. Awake, my love, rouse up, my hope, flame out, my desires; come forth, O all ye powers and affections of my soul; come, see the Lord. No sooner doth Christ by his Spirit call to the believer, but faith hears; and discerning the voice, turns about, like Mary, saying, Rabboni, my Lord, my Master.
3. This remembrance of Christ includes suitable impressions made upon the affections; and therein lies the nature of that inestimable blessing, communion with God. Various representations of Christ are made at his table. Sometimes the soul there calls to mind the infinite wisdom that contrived the glorious and mysterious design of redemption: the effect of this is wonder and admiration. Oh the manifold wisdom of God! Eph. 3:10. Oh the depth, the height, the length, the breadth of this wisdom! I can as easily span the heavens as take the just dimensions of it.
Sometimes a representation of the severity of God is made to the soul in that ordinance. Oh how inflexible is the justice of God! What! no abatement; no sparing mercy; no, not to his own Son? This begets in the heart a just and deep indignation against sin. cursed sin! it was thou usedst my dear Lord
thy sake he underwent all this. If thy vileness had not been so great, his sufferings had not been so many. Cursed sin! thou wast the knife that stabbed him, thou the sword that pierced him. Ah, what revenge it works! When the believer considers and remembers that sin put Christ to all that shame and ignominy, and that he was wounded for our transgressions, he is filled with hatred of sin, and cries out, Oh sin, I will revenge the blood of Christ upon thee! thou shalt never live a quiet hour in my heart. And it also produces an humble adoration of the goodness and mercy of God, in exacting satisfaction for our sins, by such bloody stripes, from our Surety. Lord, if this wrath had seized on me, as it did on Christ, what had been my condition? If these things were done in the green tree, what would have been done in the dry?
Sometimes extraordinary representations are made of the love of Christ, who assumed a body and soul, on purpose to bear the wrath of God for our sins. And when that surpassing love breaks out in its glory upon the soul, how is the soul transported with it! crying out, What manner of love is this! Here is a love large enough to go round the heavens, and the heaven of heavens! Who ever loved after this rate, to lay down his life for enemies? Oh love unutterable and inconceivable! Sometimes the fruits of his death are there gloriously displayed: even his satisfaction for sin, and the purchase by his blood of the eternal inheritance: and this begets thankfulness and confidence in the soul. Christ is dead, and his death hath satisfied for my sin. Christ is dead, therefore my soul shall never die. Who shall separate me from the love of God? These are the fruits, and this the nature of that remembrance of Christ here spoken of.
II. What aptitude or fitness is there in this ordinance to bring Christ so to remembrance? Much every way;