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THE WORDS OF INSTITUTION,
And as they were eating, Jesus tool bread, and blessed it, anel 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.” (Matt. xxvi. 26–28.)
“And as they did eat, Jesus tool bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it 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 miny.” (Mark xiv, 22–24.)
“ And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is My body which is given for you: tris 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." (Luke xxii. 19, 20.)
“ For I have received of the Lord that which also J. delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread : and when He had given thanks, Ile 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 Nero Testament in Aly 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 slew the Lord's death till He come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and olood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.” (1 Cor. xi. 23—29.)
“ The cup of Blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” (1 Cor. x. 16, 17.)
“ Then they that gladly received His Word were baptized : and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts ii. 41, 42.,
“ And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples camo together to break bread, Paul preached unto them.” (Acts xx. 7.)
“ I am the living bread which came down from hearen : if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews, therefore, strove among themselves, saying, Ilow can this man give 118 His flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, rerit, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and, My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.” (John vi. 51–56.)
I now come to the subject of Holy Communion. We liave to see what truths respecting this Sacrament we gather from Holy Scripture, and how far these truths are ombodied in our Service.
There are four or five passages of Scripture besides those which I have placed at the head of this chapter,' in which they who recognise the rightful position of Holy Communion in the Christian system will discern allusions to it; but they cannot be safely appealed to in support of any doctrine which cannot be collected out of the passagos which I have given in full.
Doubts have also been expressed as to whether our Blessed Lord refers to Holy Communion in his words recorded in John vi. I shall presently show that the whole structure of His discourse demands such an allusion.
If the above-cited passages comprise all the Scripturo places in which the Holy Spirit has taught us any truths respecting this Sacrament, then any doctrinal or devotional formula, if it is to be accounted Scriptural, must be founded upon, and be in strict accordance with, these places.
Before, however, we proceed to examine them, it wili be needful to call attention to the Person of the Divine Being who instituted the Eucharist.
Before men practically divest this Sacrament of all mystery, let them, as they value their souls, ponder the unspeakable mystery which belongs to the Person of Him Who ordained it, and the awful greatness of the occasion on which He ordained it. For He who then blessed and brake bread was “He whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
If a mere man institutes a memorial of himself in certain terms, we must measure what he says by a merely human standard; but if the Son of the Most High, the Eternal Word, is made flesh, in order that He may redeem us by
" (1 Cor. v. 7, 8; xiv. 16: Heb. X. 19–22: Luke xxiv, 30 Acts xxvii. 35.)
His Death, and give His Flesh and Blood to be our meat and drink; and if, just before His Death, He ordains a rite in certain very wonderful words, then it is another matter altogether.
He Who ordained the Eucharist was infinitely mysterious in regard of His Person, for He had two whole and perfect natures, the Godhead and manhood, in one Person.
The fulness of the Godhead dwelt in His very Body (Col. ii. 9), and yet it was in all respects the body of a sinless man.
When men saw Him, they saw the Eternal Word (1 John i. 1-3). When men heard Him speak, they heard God speaking to them. When one, a few days after this last Supper, handled His flesh, and exclaimed, in adoring wonder, “My Lord and my God,” he was not blamed.
Now, this unspeakable mystery attaching to the Person of the Redeemer must lead the thoughtful mind to expect very deep things inloed in such words and acts as those in which He instituted the Eucharist, and shoul:l mako us fear exceedingly, lest in stripping them of all mystery we make them void.
An impugner of Eucharistic doctrine in the last century complacently asserts that “no other meaning or interpretation is to be put upon these words [i.e., the words in which Christ ordained Holy Communion but what is agreeable to the common rules of speaking on tho liko occasions."
In answer to this, he was asked,
"Pray, sir, where must a man look for a like case? Does the world afford us any case like this? Have the Speaker, or the thing spoken, anything in common life like to either of them? How vain is it therefore to refer us to the common rules of speaking in the like cases when the whole world affords us neither any person like Him that spoke, nor any thing or case like the thing or case liere spoken of,”
So that the infinite mystery of the Person of Him Who ordained the Eucharist, is to be borne in mind at every step of our inquiry into its nature and intent.
Ever remembering this, let us first consider the four accounts preserved to us in Scripture of the Institution of the Eucharist. (Matt. xxvi. 26–30; Mark xiv. 22–25; Luke xxii. 19, 20; 1 Cor. xi. 23–34.)
Let the reader first notice that in all these accounts the words of the Lord respecting the bread are the same. St. Matthew records that He said, Take, eat; this is My body.” St. Mark that He said, “ Take, eat; this is My body.” St. Luke omits the words, “Take, eat;" but tells us that He said, “ This is My body," and that He added, “which is given for you ;" thereby seeming more emphatically to identify that which Ho “brake” and “ gavo" with His Body, which was about to bo crucified.
St. Luke also records, what St. Matthew and St. Mark had omitted, that our Lord added, “Do this in remembrance of Me."
According to St. Paul, our Lord said, “Take, eat; this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me." 8
Let the reader note here that it pleased our Lord to give to St. Paul a separate and direct revelation of the Institution of the Eucharist: for the account as contained in 1 Cor. xi. is prefaced by the words, “I received of the
1 William Law, in “A Demonstration of the Gross and Fundamental Errors of a late book called ' A Plain Account of the Natur and End of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.""
? But the best editions omit “ Take, eat,” and also“ broken," and read, “This is my body which is for you."