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for the sustenance and refreshment of the body, represent to us the spiritual food and sustenance derived, by the faithful in the Lord's Supper, from Him who ordained it, and who shewed His care for us to the last. They teach us not to doubt the continual supplies of His grace, who, in the very night before He was betrayed, gave us this memorial of His love, these pledges of His continual support. He also, who gives us these pledges, has not only in them given pledges of His love, as manifested in those sufferings of which they are memorials, but He gives us therein no less sure pledges of His power, to fulfil the hope and confidence, which He has raised. For He, whom those symbols represented, is the true paschal lamb, of whose salvation the deliverance commemorated in the Jewish passover was the type and shadow. He is the Redeemer whose triumphs and power, the prophets and holy men of old saw afar off, and predicted. He is the one "mighty to save,"-the
Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." He, that redeemed us, hath power to preserve from all dangers and enemies, "ghostly and bodily." Him we set before us, and show forth to our mind's eye, when we partake of these pledges of His love and power. And how will the faithful communicant, showing forth thus the Lord's death till He come, find his heart burn, and his judgment convinced, under that affectionate exhortation, and that rea
sonable inference, which our Church builds upon the events," shown forth" in the Lord's Supper:"Above all things ye must give most humble and hearty thanks to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for the redemption of the world by the death and passion of our Saviour Christ, both God and man; who did humble Himself, even to the death upon the cross, for us miserable sinners, who lay in darkness and the shadow of death; that He might make us the children of God, and exalt us to everlasting life. And to the end that we should alway remember the exceeding great love of our Master, and only Saviour Jesus Christ, thus dying for us, and the innumerable benefits which, by His precious blood-shedding, He hath obtained to us; 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. To Him therefore, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, let us give (as we are most bounden) continual thanks; submitting ourselves wholly to His holy will and pleasure, and studying to serve Him in true holiness and righteousness all the days of our life.”
But, as we have observed, shewing forth the Lord's death in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper implies a preaching or declaration of it, not only as a truth to be embraced by ourselves, but to be publicly professed before the congregation as the foundation of our faith and hope, and to be commended
to their hearts and consciences by our example and profession. "It is not only," says a foreign protestant', "to excite in his own breast a lively remembrance of the death of Christ, and of the fruits of it, that the Christian partakes of the holy Communion; he does it also to testify to others the sentiments with which he contemplates that death. With this intent he publicly, and before the church, partakes of the Lord's Supper; and it is in that sense that St. Paul uses the term shew forth, when he says, 'ye do shew forth the Lord's death. It is apparent that the term has reference to others of the faithful, in whose presence he partakes of that Sacrament. Every Christian, then, as often as he communicates, by that very act, declares, in the presence of the church, what he believes respecting the death of Christ, and his inward estimate of its importance. He does not rest satisfied with the mere consciousness of the magnitude and value of the benefit, which is set before us in the Lord's Supper, but he makes a solemn avowal of it; he renders thanks for this to God and his Saviour; he lauds and magnifies His holy name for this mercy publicly, in the presence of his fellow Christians. In fact, no part of the celebration of the Lord's Supper should be regarded as without its use or lesson. Every thing said, every thing done therein,
1 Werenfels, to whom I am indebted for much of the materials of this Sermon.
has its meaning and its object. The communicant advancing to the holy table, to receive there the symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, by that act publicly professes, that he looks for life only in that, which these symbols shew forth. When he takes and eats the bread broken, and when, in like manner, he takes and drinks the wine consecrated, he makes a solemn declaration and profession, that it is only through faith in Jesus Christ crucified, and in His blood shed, that he hopes to obtain salvation.
"To put all this into a few words, and in a form which may bring it home to the heart and conscience of each individual; as often as a Christian communicates, and comes to the holy table, to eat and drink of these symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ crucified, it is virtually the same as though he said with a loud voice, and before the whole church, in this act I publicly acknowledge, that I should be condemned for my sins, if the Son of God had not suffered death for me; I moreover acknowledge and declare, that this death will profit me nothing, unless I shall take hold of it by a true and lively faith, accompanied with sincere repent
"Hence the inference is obvious, that as it would be a fearful act of hypocrisy to communicate without true persuasion of the great truths shown forth in that Sacrament, and so loudly professed; so it would be nothing but hypocrisy to pretend that this
solemn acknowledgment of those truths might be made, without our thereby engaging ourselves to a perpetual gratitude to God our Saviour, and to an entire devotion of ourselves to His service."
It has been thus regarded in every age of the Christian Church, down to the present day. Jesus Himself, as St. Paul in the text declares, ordained it for perpetual observance in His Church. The Apostles continued in the frequent habit of "breaking of bread" with the first disciples; the early Christians followed their example; and, though in after times corruptions and superstitions were engrafted on it, yet the institution was never lost sight of by the Church. In the purest periods of that Church this Sacrament was most frequently received, and this truly Christian profession most frequently made. We cannot do better than to imitate the example. Let us, then, not with hypocritical and unmeaning service, but in sincerity and truth, so shew forth the Lord's death till He come, that when He shall come, He may acknowledge us, and receive us into glory.