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INSTITUTION OF THE LORD'S SUPPER.
MATT XXVI. 17.
Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover ? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth, as it is written of him; but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him; Thou hast said. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the 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. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
We may acquaint ourselves with the feelings, to perpetuate which the Supper of the Lord was instituted, by contemplating an assembly of his disciples, in subsequent years, when time had dimmed in their memory the image of their Lord, and what once were facts transacted in their presence, had assumed the colder form of doctrines. But imagine them gathering in Jerusalem for the celebration of the service which he instituted, around the table at which he once presided, repeating the words he once spoke. They raise to their lips in turn that cup of which he had said, "This do, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." And is not their master then among them; and do not they once more hear his voice, and see the look of benignity with which he said on that memorable night, "I will not leave you comfortless; I will come unto you: yet a little while and the world seeth me no more, but ye see me?" Yes! at such moments must that prediction indeed have been verified. At such moments may we yet experience its truth. As we engage in the service of Christian communion, the intervening centuries vanish, and the Saviour and his disciples rise before us; we hear the professions of the ardent Peter; we see the affectionate John, leaning on his master's breast. Often let us seek their presence, and gaze, delighted, on the living " Image of the Invisible God."
According to thy gracious word,
This will I do, my dying Lord,
Thy body, broken for my sake,
Gethsemane can I forget?
Or there thy conflict see, Thine agony and bloody sweat, And not remember thee?
When to the cross I turn mine eyes,
Oh Lamb of God, my sacrifice!
Remember thee, and all thy pains,
Yea, while a breath, a pulse remains
And when these failing lips grow dumb, And mind and memory flee,
When thou shalt in thy kingdom come, Thou wilt remember me.
JESUS WASHES THE DISCIPLES' FEET.
JOHN XIII 1. and 33.
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 it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him,) Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; he riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself; after that, he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter; and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit; and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he
said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you. Ye call me Master and Lord; and ye say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his Lord, neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye, if ye do them.
Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me; and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come, so now I say unto you. A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterward. Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down. thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say nnto thee, the cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.
This passage affords a very striking instance of our Lord's manner of illustrating and impressing a principle; and what an example does it afford of noble humility! It is not without reference to his subject that the apostle John commences this chapter by referring to the situation and feelings of the Saviour at the time. "Jesus knew that his hour was come;" and if at any time his mind might naturally be filled exclusively with thoughts of himself and his own sufferings, it