« AnteriorContinua »
himself a member of the church of Christ, than he who has never been baptized.
The sacrament of the Lord's Supper is generally denominated by Christians, “the Sacrament.” Emphatically so, as being the only one that requires repetition, and the only one upon which any discussion, as just now explained, can arise.
It is called “the Lord's Supper," or “ Eucharist.” Eucharist, from a Greek word, signifying, "giving thanks,” which word is found in all the accounts of the institution contained in the scripture; and “Lord's Supper,” obviously from its being instituted at the last supper of which our blessed Lord partook with his disciples.* Three of the evangelists, together with the apostle St. Paul, have given a direct account of this sacred ordinance. In that which stands as the first gospel in our bible, St. Matthew, the words are these : “ Now when even was come,
* The names of this holy sacrament annexed according to date, are thus given by Waterland :A.D. 33. Breaking of bread,-Acts ii. 42. 46. Acts xx. 7. 57. Communion,-1 Cor. x, 16. 57. Lord's Supper.—1 Cor. xi. 20. 96. Oblation, -Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Irenæus. 104. Sacrament,-Tertullian, Cyprian. 107. Eucharist,-- Ignatius, Justin Martyr. 150. Sacrifice,- Justin Martyr, Cyprian. 150. Commemoration,–Justin Martyr, Origen, Eusebius. 249. Passover,-Origen, Hilary, Jerome. 385. Mass, -Ambrose, &c.
Waterland's Review, Cap. I.
he sat down with the twelve. . . . . . And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."* The next account is in St. Mark, as follows: “ And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it, and he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many."+ The account of St. Luke, which is next in order, runs thus : “ And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you : This do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you ;"I where it is to be observed that he makes this remarkable addition to the accounts of St. Matthew and St. Mark : “ This do in remembrance of me.” Next, the apostle St. Paul gives nearly the same account as St. Luke:
« The Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given
* Matt. xxvi. 20. 23— 28. † Mark xiv. 22. I Luke xxii.19.
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. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."* Where, in addition to what had before been said by St. Luke, the apostle adds the remarkable intimation, that the institution of the Eucharist was to be the means of keeping up the remembrance of Jesus Christ, “ until he come,” that is, until the end of the world ; and that therefore it was a perpetual and never-ceasing symbol, to be borne by the faithful; one by which they might display their faith, one by which the merits of Christ's death might be from time to time vividly set forth, and represented to the world.
Our attention has no doubt been directed to one particular circumstance in this collation of the accounts—the silence of the evangelist St. John. This evangelist nowhere formally records the institution : the beloved apostle, who was with his master continually, as his most chosen friend and beloved companion, fails to give any detailed account of this dying command of his Lord. This omission may seem remarkable ; but upon a little examination, the difficulty is soon cleared up. In order to do this, let us first take St. Matthew's account of those circumstances which were previous, and those which were subsequent, to the institution of the Eucharist, and then compare them with the same circumstances as related by St. John. We shall thus perceive more closely what St. John omits, and where he coincides with the relation of his brother evangelists.*
* 1 Cor. xi. 23, and following verses.
In the twenty-first chapter of St. Matthew, we find our Saviour entering into Jerusalem upon an ass, and casting out the buyers and sellers from the temple. The intervening chapters between the twenty-first and twenty-sixth are occupied by various parables and prophecies. In the twenty-sixth chapter two days before the Passover, we find Jesus in conversation with his disciples, and the woman pouring the alabaster box of ointment upon
his head. Then in the seventeenth verse, on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, we find the disciples asking our Lord where they should prepare the feast of the passover. In the twentieth verse we find him sitting down to meat with the twelve, proclaiming to Judas his knowledge of the treachery meditated against him, and then immediately after, instituting the Eucharist. The accounts given by St. Mark and
* See the Harmony at the end of this chapter.
St. Luke of the same period of time, namely, between the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, and the institution of the Eucharist, differ but little; St. Luke only mentioning, in addition, the contention of the disciples as to which should be the greatest.* Now, therefore, turning to St. John let us look for his account of the same period of time. In the twelfth chapter we shall find the public entry into Jerusalem, and in the thirteenth chapter we shall find the following description: “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him.” Now this expression, “supper being ended,” cannot mean the whole of the paschal supper, because we find our Saviour, in a few verses subsequent, adverting to the sop by which the betrayer was distinguished, and this sop must have been given during the supper. The whole of the supper then was not ended. The truth is, that the paschal supper was observed in two parts, first the eating of unleavened bread and bitter herbs, which was called the antepast, or preparation, and then the actual eating of the paschal lamb. Therefore the ex
* Luke xxii. 24.