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ON THE INSTITUTION OF THE LORD'S SUPPER.
The Jewish festival of the passover is considered to have been the type and parallel of the Christian sacrament of the Lord's Supper, as circumcision was of that of baptism. No uncircumcised person could eat of the paschal lamb; and no Christian churches, I believe, administer the sacrament to one who has not been previously baptised. To the rite of circumcision there was no exclusive limitation; the heathen captive or servaitt bought with money, or any stranger dwelling in the land, might enter the Jewish church by this ceremony, and thus become entitled to its external privileges. (Exodus xii.) “ One law shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger that dwelleth among you.” No qualification is mentioned as necessary to admission, but that of desiring it, and nothing is specified as an ex6. When a
clusion to those who did so desire. stranger shall sojourn with thee and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land.” To the chosen people of Israel no choice was allowed. “Every man child among you shall be circumcised. It shall be a token of my covenant betwixt me and you.” Herein we have election but not exclusion. In the feast of the passover
there was an exclusion; no one could partake of it unless he made an open profession of the Jewish religion by the initiatory rite of circumcision ; the outward sign of separation between the people of God and the nations of the world : “For no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof." It hence appears that the one ordinance being designed for all who desired to become members of the church of God; the other was especially reserved to those who already were so. On his chosen people they were equally imperative ; for it is said of the passover as of circumcision, that they who partook not of it at the set times should be cut off. Both these rites were a portion of that ceremonial law which, with all its terrors and penalties, has been done away.
In tracing the analogy between them and the Christian Sacraments, by which they have been superseded, not continued, we must be careful to keep this in mind, lest we bring ourselves into bondage. The law had a shadow of good things to come, but not, as we have, the very image of the things as they have since appeared. The whole of these shadows passed away together, when more spiritual ordinances were substituted for them. We shall bring great confusion into our minds if we suppose that some part of the figurative and typical dispensation remains in force, when the rest has passed away.
The doctrines of the Jewish church remain for ever, for they are one with ours: there has from the beginning been but one religion; the one only Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We cannot drink too deeply of their molten sea, or feed too often on their paschal Lamb, or follow too closely the spirit of their sacrifices. But the forms and ceremonies ordained for the foreshowing of the Gospel, become mere superstitions if ingrafted on the New Testament dispensation. The word of God makes no exception when it declares that these things are passed away. In this view, and in comparison with the more spiri
tual exhibition of the gospel, the apostle calls them'carnal ordinances, beggarly elements;'and such they had become; for God had done with them and rejected them ; though once they had been divine and holy institutions. The Church of Rome, I apprehend, has derived no few of its superstitious practices from the Jewish ritual: as the Apostle foresaw, when, cautioning the Colossians against some of the most prominent superstitions into which that church had fallen,
“Let no man judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days, which all are a shadow of things to come-but the body is of Christ.” We derive our authority for Christian ordinances from the New Testament exclusively: and appeal to the older things as illustrative of our Sacraments, only so far as they are recognized in the New Testament to be analogous: by drawing the comparison closer than is intended, we should be in danger of inducing legal dependence or superstitious dread. With this in mind, we may observe, that circumcision and the passover, beside being outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, in the manner of our sacraments, were also types and shadows of those very sacraments, and in that character exhibited their nature and design; whence much spiritual instruction may be expected from the consideration of them. Our subject confines us to the passover, in its likeness and relationship to the Lord's Supper
The Jewish passover, the first great yearly festival, was commemorative of the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage, and the sword of the destroying angel,-prefigurative of spiritual redemption by Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world in the purpose of Jehovah, and actually to be slain on earth when the fulness of time should come. The Christian Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is simply commemorative of this last event;" to show forth the Lord's death till he come :" for the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ, and of the benefits which we receive thereby. The ceremonies peculiar to the passover, distinguishing it from other festivals, were the slaying of the Paschal Lamb, the eating only of unleavened bread, and the waving of the sheaf of first-fruits on the morrow after the feast. The Paschal Lamb is the universally-acknowledged type of Jesus Christ. The New Testament recognizes the similitude.