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M. Just so; and therefore to keep the feast of unleavened bread at all, it was necessary there should be no delay. Accordingly Jesus sends His disciples to make ready for Himself and them; having providentially arranged beforehand that they should find a room furnished for the purpose, and its owner ready to receive them; as you may see in Luke xxii. 10—13. And when the evening was come, the evening of Thursday in Passion week, the Paschal eve on which the feast began, our Lord sat down, and His twelve Apostles with Him.
It is impossible to imagine a more solemn occasion. Observe the affecting words in which our Lord addresses His disciples: "With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat of it, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God."
The shadow, you see, was passing fast away; its substance was coming. "Christ our passover" was about to be "sacrificed for us;" not for the Jews only, but for the whole world: and He was Himself keeping for the last time that feast which was of no use but to typify Himself; to point out the Christ. You can tell me perhaps how long the passover had been observed.
E. The Exodus or departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt took place in the year 1487 B. C. : so, Mamma, the passover must have been kept for more than 1500 years.
M. Yes, for fifteen centuries or more (as some reckon) the Jews, by the command of God, had thus kept up the remembrance of their redemption out of Egypt, and of that blood of sprinkling, by which they
were then saved. But a greater redemption was now to be purchased, even of a whole world from the bondage of sin, to be purchased too with blood, "with blood divine," the blood of the Lamb of God. The mysterious meaning of the Paschal feast was now at length about to be unfolded; its prophetic figures, so important to all mankind, were on the very eve of their fulfilment; for the day had come on which the true passover was to be offered up.
E. Was it not now, Mamma, that our Lord instituted what we call the Lord's supper?
M. Yes, my child; it was on this solemn occasion, that the Lord Jesus instituted that holy feast, which we call the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper; in which you are so excellently instructed at the close of our Church Catechism. The Jewish Church was kept continually in expectation, by the Paschal feast, of the redemption which their prophets predicted. But it was necessary that the great sacrifice should be remembered, as well as foretold: for this cause our Lord instituted this other feast, which His Church was to keep for ever, in remembrance of Him; to show forth her faith in His death, and her grateful recollection of the blessings purchased for her by it. It was to be kept, not for fifteen centuries only, but as long as the Church should remain in the world ;— until our Lord's coming again.
Remember then that the Lord's supper is to us what the Paschal supper was to the Jews; only theirs was partly a prophetical feast, pointing out what was to come; ours commemorates what has already been accomplished. Remember too how sacred, and how solemn an institution that must be, which was intended
to fill up in the Christian Church the same place which the Passover did in the Jewish; and which was meant to be "a perpetual memory of our Lord's death until his coming again." There is a beautiful account given us in the Gospels, of the manner in which our Lord instituted this supper.
E. Is there, dear Mamma; pray read it to me.
M. We are told that whilst "they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave to his disciples, and said, Take eat; this is my body, which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me." Not that the bread was changed so as to become in very deed, the body of our Lord; but that it was consecrated to represent that body;-to put that body broken for us before our souls, as their spiritual food and sustenance, just as bread is the natural support of our bodies. The expression is, what we call a figurative one, which I think you understand now perfectly well; such expressions being, as you know, very common in scripture.
E. Is not the Passover just such an expression Mamma; for when we say the Passover was killed, we mean the Paschal lamb-do we not?
M. Yes;-which was killed to commemorate the Passover, and was not itself the passing over. Or when our Lord Himself is called the Lamb of God, the Bread of life, the Door, the Shepherd, the Vine, ---we know that our Lord is compared to these things, and that they are put to represent His different offices or character, and we never puzzle ourselves on the subject, nor imagine for a moment, that He was really a lamb, a door, or a vine. Similar is the language respecting the Lord's Supper: the bread there used
is figuratively the body of Christ; it is an emblem of that bread of life, a memorial of the offering up of His body for the life of the world; and so, when rightly received, it is the communion of the body of Christ.
E. I think I understand this: but there is wine used in the Lord's supper, is there not, as well as bread?
M. Yes; because "after supper the Lord Jesus took a cup of wine, and gave it to His disciples 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." Here the blood of Christ, shed upon the cross for sinners, is represented by the cup, or wine; just as His crucified body was by the bread; and both are to be equally received by His redeemed people in grateful remembrance of His death.
You see then, dear Edward, when it was, and why it was, that our blessed Lord instituted that holy sacrament. You see that "to the end that we should always remember the exceeding great love of our Master and only Saviour Jesus Christ, in humbling ́himself, even to the death of the cross, for us miserable sinners, who lay in darkness and the shadow of death, He hath instituted and ordained holy mysteries as pledges of His love, and for a continual remembrance of His death, to our great and endless comfort." May we ever go to that holy table which Christ spreads for us, truly and earnestly repenting us of those sins which nailed Him to the accursed tree, with a lively faith in that mercy which is there set forth; and with hearts overflowing with love to God, and love to our fellow creatures! and may 66 so eat the flesh of His dear Son and drink His blood, that our sinful bodies
may be made clean by His body, and our souls washed in His most precious blood; and that we may evermore dwell in Him and He in us."
E. Then, Mamma, all Christians ought to partake of the holy communion; and I too shall go with you some day to the Lord's table?
M. Indeed I trust you will, as soon as you have been solemnly admitted by confirmation into the number of established believers in Christ. It is the excellent rule of our Church, that young persons should become regular communicants, humble and devout attendants at the Lord's table, as soon as they are old enough seriously to feel the importance of those vows, which were made for them in their baptism; and have taken them publicly upon them in the Church, while they received from the Bishop's hands an assurance of God's grace and goodness towards them. But, alas! the rules of the Church are too often despised; her voice is disregarded; and too many young Christians grow up unmindful of their spiritual blessings, and, like Esau, despising their birthright. Even those too, who are by the care of their parents taken to be confirmed, are often far from making their confirmation what it ought to be-a solemn renewal of their Christian profession-a willing, a decided taking upon them the yoke of their Saviour; that gentle, gracious yoke to which He so lovingly invites them to submit.
E. Then, when I am confirmed, I may come to the Lord's table?
M. I hope so indeed, my child: it would be a sad thing if you were to live, as too many do, without thinking of that affectionate command, "Do this in