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expressive of their communion with God in and by the sacrifice.
Now, (1.) Jesus Christ is the great and only sacri. fice, who, by being once offered, perfected forever them which are sanctified ;' and this offering needs never to be repeated ; that once was sufficient.
(2.) The Lord's Supper is a feast upon this sacrifice, in which we receive the atonement, as the expression is (Rom. v. 11.); that is, we give consent to, and take complacency in the method which infinite wisdom hath taken of justifying and saving us by the merit and mediation of the Son of God incarnate. In feasting upon the sacrifice, we apply the benefit of it to ourselves, and ascribe the praise of it to God with joy and thankfulness.
(6.) It is a feast upon a covenant. The covenant between Isaac and Abimelech was made with a feast ....Gen. xxxi. 30, 31. So was that between Laban and Jacob, (Gen, xxxi. 46, 54.) and their feasting upon the sacrifices was a federal rite, in token of peace and communion between God and his people. In the Lord's Supper we are admitted to feast with God, in token of reconciliation between us and him through Christ. Though we have provoked God, and been enemies to him in our minds, by wicked works, yet he thus graciously provides for us, to shew, that now he hath reconciled us to himself....Col. i. 21. His enemies hungering, he thus feeds them...thirsting, he thus gives them drink; which, if, like coals of fire heaped upon their heads, it melts them into a com«pliance with the terms of his covenant, they shall, henceforth, as his own familiar friends, eat bread at his table continually, till they come to sit down with him at his table in his kingdom.
The nature of this Ordinance. WHEN the Jews, according to God's appointment, observed the passover yearly throughout their generations, it was supposed that their children would ask them, What mean ye by this service? And they were directed what answer to give to that enquiry, Exod. xii. 26, 27. The question may very fitly be asked concerning our gospel passover-What mean we by this service? We come together in a public and select assembly of baptized Christians, under the conduct and presidency of a gospel minister : we take bread and wine, sanctified by the word and prayer, and we eat and drink together in a solemn, religious manner, with an eye to a divine institution, as our warrant and rule in so doing : this we do often: this all the churches of Christ do, and have done in every age from the death of Christ down to this day, and we doubt not but it will continue to be done till time shall be no more, Now, what is the true intent and meaning of this ordinance? What did Christ design it for in the institution ? And what must we aim at in the observation of it?
It was appointed to be a commemorating ordinance, and a confessing ordinance ; and a communicating ordinance, and a covenanting ordinance.
First, The ordinance of the Lord's supper is a come memorating ordinance. This explication our Lord himself gave it, when he said, (Luke xxii, 19) Do this in remembrance of me: do it for my memorial : do it for a remembrance of me. In this ordinance he hath recorded his name forever, and this is his memorial throughout all generations. We are to do this,
1. In remembrance of the person of Christ, as an absent friend of ours. It is a common ceremony of friendship, to lay up something in remembrance of a friend we have valued, which, we say, we keep for his sake, when he is gone, or is at a distance; as it is usual likewise to drink to one another, remembering such a friend that is absent. Jesus Christ issar beloved and our friend the best friend that ever souls had : he is now absent: he hath left the world, and.is gone to the father ; and the heavens must contain him till the time of the restitution of all things. Now this ordi. nance is appointed for a remembrance of him: we ob. serve it in token of this that though the blessed Je. sus be out of sight, he is not out of mind. He that instituted this ordinance, did, as it were, engrave this upon it for a motto:
When this you see,
Remember me. Remember him! Is there any danger of our forget, ting him? If we were not wretchedly taken up with the world and the flesh, and strangely careless in the concerns of our souls, we could not forget him : but, in consideration of the treachery of our memories, this ordinance is appointed to mind us of Christ.
Ought we not to remember, and can we ever forget such a friend as Christ is ? A friend that is our near and dear relation ? · Bone of our bone, flesh of our Hesh, and not ashamed to call us brethren?' A friend in covenant with us, who puts more honor upon us than we deserve, when he calls us his servants, and yet is pleased to call us friends, (John xv. 15.)
-A friend that hath so wonderfully signalized his frier.dship, and commended his love. He hath done that for us, which no friend we have in the world did, or could do for us : he hath laid down his life for us, then when the redemption of our souls was grown so precious, as otherwise to have ceased forever. Surely we must forget ourselves, if ever we forget him, since our happiness is entirely owing to his kindness.
Ought we not to remember, and can we ever forget a friend, who, though he be absent from us, is ne. gotiating our affairs, and is really absent for us? He is gone, but he is gone upon our business; as the forerunner he is for us entered : he is gone to appear in the presence of God for us, as our agent. Can we be unmindful of him who is always mindful of us, and who, as the great high-priest of our profession, bears the names of all his spiritual Israel in his breast-place, near his heart, within the vail ?
Ought we not to remember, and can we ever forget a friend, who, though he be now absent, will be absent but a while? We see him not, but we expect to see him shortly, when he will come in the clouds, and every eye shall see him' -will come to receive us to himself, to share in his joy and glory. Shall we not be glad of any thing that helps us to remember him, who not only remembered us once in our low estate, but, having once remembered us, will never forget us? Shall not his name be written in indelible characters upon the tables of our heart, who háth graven us upon the palms of his hands ? Surely we must continually remember our Judge and Lord, when behold the Lord is at hand, and the Judge standeth before the door, Thus must we shew him forth till he come ; for he comes quickly.
2. We are to do this in remembrance of the death of Christ as an ancient favor done us. This ordinance was instituted in the night wherein' our Master was betrayed, (that night of observations, as the first passover night is called, Exod. xii. 42. margin); which in tinatęth the special reference this ordinance was to have to that which was done that night, and the day following: In it we are' to know Christ, and him cru: cified' (1 Cor. ii. 2), and to remember his sufferingsto remember his bonds in a special manner. All the saints, and all the churches could not see Christ upon the cross; therefore, in this ordinance, that great transaction is set before us, upon which the judgment of this world turned-John xii. 31...." Now is the judgment of this world. Here we remember the dying of the Lord Jesus ; that is
(1.) We endeavor to preserve the memory of it in
the church, and to transmit it pure and entire through our age, to the children which shall be created, that the remembrance of it may be ever fresh, and may not die in our hand. That good thing which was com, mitted to us, as a trust, we must thus carefully keep, and faithfully deliver down to the next generation evidencing that we firmly believe, and frequently think of Christ's dying for us, and desiring that those who shall come after us may do so too.
(2.) We endeavor to revive and incite the remembrance of it in our own hearts. This ordinance was intended to stir up our fure minds, (our impure minds we have too much reason to call them), by way of remembrance, as the expression is, 11 Pet. iii. 1; that, giving so earnest a heed to the things that belong to the great salvation, as the solemnity of this ordinance calls for, we may not at any time let them slip; or, if we do, we may, in the use thereof, speedi. ly recover them.... Heb. ii. 1, 3. The instituted ima. ges of Christ crucified, are, in this ordinance, very strong and lively, and proper to make deep impressions of his grace and love upon the minds that are pre. pared to receive them, and such as cannot be worn out.
We see, then, what we have to do in our attendance upon this ordinance 4 We must remember the suilerings of Christ there, else we do nothing.
(1.) This supposeth some acquaintance with Christ crucified; for we cannot be said to remember that which we never knew. The ignorant, therefore, to whom the great things of the gospel are as a strange thing, which they are not concerned to acquaint them. selves with, cannot answer the intention of this ordi. nance ; but they offer the blind in sacrifice, not discerning the Lord's body, and the breaking of it. It concerns us, therefore, to cry after this knowledge, and to labor after a clearer insight into the mystery of our redemption by the death of Christ ; for, if we be ignorant of this, and rest in false and confused no