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soever purposes it then was intended to effect, were to continue in force, and unchanged, till He should come again. The points then which the subject taken in this view may suggest to our meditation, I shall present to you under the following heads:
I. We will give a cursory sketch, with such passing reflections as it may suggest, of the circumstances upon which St. Paul dwells, to induce the Corinthians to regard the Lord's Supper in its true light.
II. We will consider how we can best fulfil that intention of the Lord's Supper, particularly mentioned here, namely, the shewing forth the Lord's death till He come.
I. I have prominently directed your attention to the object, which St. Paul earnestly pursues in this address to the Corinthians, and have stated that the circumstances, on which he dwells, were peculiarly intended to establish and cherish in their minds feelings of reverence for this holy institution, instead of those loose and sensual notions, with which they had heretofore regarded and profaned it. He begins his statement of the time and manner of its appointment by Jesus, with solemnly reminding them (as I have already remarked) of the Divine Author, from whom he derived the facts which he was now declaring. He reminds them that the time and the circumstances, in which the Lord's Supper was or
dained, gave it the highest authority and solemnity; while the events and the person, which it commemorated, brought to their recollections subjects in which their highest interests were involved, and their love was most powerfully appealed to. He reminds them that, when Jesus had contemplated the last sacramental observance of the Jewish Passover; when He was about to accomplish a greater deliverance, of which the other was only a type or shadow; when He was about to lay down His life for their sakes, and to endure the agonies and shame of the cross for us miserable sinners; when He was to be betrayed and reviled by those whom He came to seek and to save-amidst these affecting and awful circumstances, St. Paul reminds the Corinthians, that the Lord's Supper was instituted. He reminds them, moreover, that it was instituted by Jesus Himself; that Jesus Himself particularly and expressly declared what it was intended to celebrate, even His sacrifice on the cross-the bread representing His body, and the wine His blood. And finally he tells them, that this was not a mere transaction of the moment, in which Jesus might have chosen to give this figurative representation of what was to happen to Him; but that it was the solemn ordinance of a Sacrament, which was to be continually received by His disciples to commemorate the benefits of His precious death, until His coming again; and that whosoever should partake of it without due reverence, and such dispositions
as should be suitable to this act of faith and love, would incur a deep guilt, and a heavy punish
Now it is clear, that in bringing together all these solemn and impressive circumstances, and also from the tenor of St. Paul's exhortations, and the misconduct of the Corinthians, which called for those exhortations, that his aim is to bring together all that could affect their imaginations and affections, with the importance and awfulness of the Sacrament. His aim is to deter them from eating that bread, and drinking of that cup, in an irreverent or unworthy manner, as if it were a common meal. And does it not at once occur, that if St. Paul had believed, what the Romish Church pretends to be the case, that the bread became the actual substance of Christ's body, and the wine the actual substance of Christ's blood, and that the bread was to be lifted up, and worshipped, and adored as God present; that, if St. Paul had believed any thing of this kind, here, above all other, would have been the time and place, in which he would have said so? Would it not have been the argument of all others to impress the Corinthians with reverence for this Holy Supper, to terrify them out of their profane use of "this bread," and "this cup;" if he could have said, This bread which you use so profanely is God, you are to bow down and worship it; how dare you partake of
1 See Sermon XXIV.
it with such irreverence, and receive it as a common meal? Would St. Paul, when collecting all the impressive circumstances and associations of the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, for the special purpose of creating reverence, and counteracting irreverence; would he, if there had been any ground for it, have omitted a circumstance so exactly, and so evidently, fitted to that purpose, as the bread being made the substance of Christ's body, and to be worshipped as such? But not a hint of the kind does he give: instead of telling them that the priest would make the bread God, he tells them only that, in eating that bread and drinking that cup, they shew forth the Lord's death (of which he had just reminded them of the affecting circumstances and important consequences) till He come. He speaks of it only as a sacramental symbol, to represent, and to be reverently taken in commemoration of, that death. And what was intended by this shewing forth the Lord's death, we proposed as the second branch of our enquiry in this discourse.
II. The word translated "shewing forth," means making public profession, preaching, declaring. It is frequently used by the inspired writers of the Gospel when they speak of preaching its great doctrines, and holding them up to the people both as the rule of their own faith, and to be embraced as such by others. And by shewing forth the Lord's death is meant representing it to the church, as
that atonement which was made for the sins of the whole world.
This duty of shewing forth the Lord's death in the Holy Supper may apply to either ourselves or to others.
With respect to ourselves; when we eat of that bread and drink of that cup, we have in these sacramental symbols continual memorials of those great and mysterious events in the scheme of our redemption, by the death and sacrifice of Christ; and looking to the authority on which the use of these memorials is founded, even the ordinance of the Lord Jesus Himself, we contemplate them as sure pledges and means of receiving the benefits of that death and sacrifice.
When we eat of that bread, and drink of that cup, our thoughts are carried back to the events of eighteen hundred years ago, and directed to the scene which St. Paul presents to the Corinthians. We remember with faith and gratitude, and love, the Saviour of the world, caring for us, even amidst the approaching horrors of the crucifixion. We are called upon to remember those hours of trial and tribulation, through which he passed for our sakes, and wherein his triumph was ours. When we eat of the bread we are reminded of the body of Jesus torn and pierced on the cross; when we drink of the cup we are reminded of his precious blood, shed amidst the taunts of misguided sinners. These elements too, of bread and wine, necessary