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connection with their deliverance from the Egyptian bondage, was evidently designed to point them to the foundation of that covenant, i. e. to the atonement for the guilt incurred
Its first celebration was enjoined upon the Israelites as a condition of their deliverance. They were to make thereby an actual confession of their death-deserving guilt, and at the same time express their believing trust that the destroying angel would spare them, on account of the blood of the sacrificial lamb. As the deliverance from the Egyptian servitude was to be to God's people a type of their deliverance from the bondage and guilt of sin, so the slaying of that sacrificial lamb without blemish was a type of the atoning death of the sinless lamb of God on Calvary, by which alone guilty man can be spared. But the typical significance of the passover did not end there. The slaying of the lamb was not sufficient; its atoning efficacy lay in its being appropriated by them as food; it was to be eaten and assimilated, and this appropriation and assimilation was to typify the personal and vital union between Christ, the true atoning sacrifice and the recipient of the atonement. The eating of the bread and the drinking of the wine in the new covenant is, as was also the eating of the lamb in the Old Testament, a divinely ordained sign and pledge of our appropriation of the atonement, — a sign or expression on our part, a pledge on the part of God.
To these general preliminary remarks, which we shall in the contemplation of the institution of the Lord's supper further explain and substantiate, we add one more. In the entire Old Testament the deliverance from Egypt appears as the highest proof of the covenanted grace. Even when God first entered into a covenant with Abraham, the promise of the deliverance of his descendants from a servitude of over three hundred years, was the type and pledge of the mercy and grace implied in the promise of the Messiah. The Lord appealed to this event, when he gave to the Israelites the decalogue (Exod. xx. 2.), when he reproved them, or gave them new commandments and new promises. Indeed, with the prophets, the hope of the coming Messianic Vol. XIX. No. 74.
salvation appears ever under the image of the exodus from Egypt (Amos ix. 14; Hos. ix. 10; xi. 1-11; Mic. vj. 3, +; viii. 15; Isai. xi. 11, 15). Before eating of the paschal lamb, the following significant words were to be uttered: “ This is the passover of the Lord.” What else could this mean than “ This is a pledge and condition of your deliver. ance; he who eats of this lamb will be spared ?" Thus, the paschal lamb was to the Israelites, not only a remembrance of their deliverance from Egypt, but, at the same time, a confession of their need of salvation, and of their faith in it, and in consequence of it a pledge and seal, that the atoning and pardoning grace would be bestowed upon them. This significance the passover retained until the true paschal lamb appeared, thus typifying the personal appropriation of the benefits of the atonement made by Christ.
Let us now proceed to the examination of the circumstances attending the institution of the Lord's supper. It was instituted in immediate connection with the eating of the paschal lamb. It is not necessary to enter into a detailed description of all the complicated ceremonies which were observed, according to the Rabbinic writings, for they do not agree among themselves, and we know not how many of them were observed, and it is not probable that our Lord bound himself to those superstitious customs, adopted without divine authority. It is sufficient that we mention the principal points observed during the paschal meal, to which the evangelists themselves refer. 1. At the beginning of the meal, the head of the family, taking a cup of wine (red wine mixed with a little water was used, giving it the color of blood), pronounced the benediction, “ Blessed art thou, O Lord, who hast created the fruit of the vine," drank first of it, passed it around to all sitting at the table, who also drank. Of this first cup Luke evidently speaks (chap. xxii. 17). 2. Then followed the eating of bitter herbs dipped in vinegar or salt water, as a remembrance of the bitterness their fathers suffered in Egypt. Then the festive viands were served up, among which was a dish of spiced sauce, called charoset, into which the guests dipped their
bread. To this part of the feast seems to refer what is narrated by Matthew (chap. xxvi. 21 – 25). During the drinking of the first cup the history of the first passover was related, and its significance explained. Psalms cxiji. and cxiv. were read, and the second cup was passed round. 3. Immediately after this began the meal proper. The head of the family took two unleavened, round, and thin cakes, broke one of them, laid the broken pieces upon the unbroken cake, and pronounced the benediction, “ Blessed art thou, O Lord, that thou bringest forth bread from the earth.” Aster this they ate of the lamb, and of the other viands. Then they drank of the third cup, called the “cup of blessing," while they sang Psalms cxv.-cxvii. Afterward they drank of the fourth cup, singing Psalms cxxix.-cxxxvi., then followed the fifth and last cup, which closed the festival. The question now is, whether our Lord observed all the usual ceremnonies of the passover (including the third cup), and whether he broke the bread once more, after the drinking of the third cup, in order to institute the eucharist of the New Testament; or whether at the customary breaking of the bread he instituted the New Testament sacrament in place of the old one, and instead of using the words, “ This is the bread of misery, which our fathers ate in Egypt” (which words God never ordained), with reference to the positive precept in Exodus xxii. 27, “ It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover (for which the significant words were often substituted, “ this is the body of the Lord's passover "), he said : “ This is my body," thereby declaring that they should no longer eat of the paschal lamb as a remembrance of their deliverance from Egypt, but that he instituted the bread as a symbol of his body (typified by the paschal lamb), which is now to be given to procure the spiritual deliverance and eternal salvation for his people. We give the latter view decidedly the preference, and it is confirmed by the account of Luke and Paul, according to which the cup was taken after supper. For doubtless it was the third cup —“the cup of blessing” – which Jesus gave to his disciples as the cup of the new testament, and which was given only after the
lamb had been entirely consumed, and no one was allowed to eat any more. After Christ had spoken of the shed blood, the disciples ceased drinking of the fourth and fifth cup; hence the usual ceremonies after the third cup were dispensed with, and his sublime farewell discourses, recorded by John, were substituted, which very likely continued till night.
Why our Lord did not make the flesh and blood of the paschal lamb (which properly typified his atoning sacrifice) the symbols of his broken body and shed blood, but bread and wine, may easily be conceived. We are thereby taught, 1. That in the new covenant all typical sacrifices of animals were to cease. Even the Jewish rabbins seemed to anticipate this, when they said : “ When the Messiah shall have appeared as a priest after the order of Melchisedec, all sacrifices of animals will cease, and the offering of bread and wine only will remain.” 2. That our Lord's supper is neither a repetition of the once offered atoning sacrifice of Christ, nor a carnal eating of the flesh of his broken body - as the Roman Catholic teaches - but an appropriation of the merits of Christ's death, and therefore a spiritual union with the living Christ. Besides, bread and wine constituted a part of the paschal supper, and fully answered to the sig. nificance of the sacrament of the new covenant. As the red wine strikingly represents Christ's blood, shed for the remission of our sins, so bread — this universal and indispensable food for man — is the most appropriate symbol of his flesh, of which our Lord said : “ I will give it for the life of the world” (John vi. 51). For, as the common bread satisfies the wants of our mortal bodies, and gives them life and strength, so Christ's atoning death — his broken body
alone can give life to, and satisfy the longings of, the immortal soul after salvation.
We are now prepared to consider the words of the institution. Three evangelists and the apostle Paul give us an account of these words. If we collate them, they read as follows: “ Take, eat (Matthew, Mark, and Paul); "this is my body” (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul); " which is
given for you” (Luke); “ which is broken for you” (Paul); " this do in remembrance of me” (Luke and Paul); “ drink ye all of it” (Matthew); “this is my blood of the new testament” (Matthew and Mark); " this cup is the new testament in my blood” (Luke and Paul); " which is shed for many, for the remission of sins” (Matthew); Mark omits " for the remission of sins ;” Luke says : " which is shed for you," (Paul omits this clause entirely);“ this do ye in remembrance of me” (Paul). How are we to explain this verbal discrepancy? It seems to us one of the strongest proofs against the theory of verbal dictation by the Holy Spirit. For, if ever the inspired penmen wrote what the Holy Spirit verbally dictated to them, it is certainly to be expected with reference to the solemn words uttered by our Lord at the institution of this sacrament of the new covenant. The advocates of the verbal inspiration suppose that our Lord probably repeated these words several times, and now turning to John, and then to Peter, changed or modified them, as the occasion required it. But this interpretation appears to us as forced as it is unnecessary.
As omissions and abridgments of events and discourses by one or the other of the sacred penmen are by no means opposed to the idea of inspiration, it is much more natural to suppose the Holy Spirit did not verbally dictate the words, but recalled only to their memory their true meaning. They do not contradict each other in the manner of quoting or stating the words. This difference serves only to explain their true meaning fully, and is attributable to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
That the Lord's supper, designed as it is to unite all true believers, has been the occasion of the most violent contention, is certainly one of the saddest phenomena in the history of the Christian church. Nowhere does the apple of discord produce a sadder impression than when it is thrown upon the table of love. The only consoling reflection is the truth that the blessing of the Lord's supper does not altogether depend upon the interpretation of the words of its institution. With reference to these we have to place ourselves