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and command of Christ, and from which words of institution we will observe the following things :
First, that our Lord took bread from off the table, out of the dish, as a commemorative, significant, instructive sign and emblem of his body.
Bread, which is commonly said to be the staff of life, as we consider it in its original, and also in its various forms of preparation through which it passes to become suitable and nourishing food for us, may serve to express Christ, his sufferings and death, by which he becomes fit food for our faith.
Bread, considered as in its original, is wheat, or corn; and Christ compares and styles himself “a corn of wheat.” (John xii. 24.) As corn must be threshed, winnowed, ground, kneaded, and baked to be our food; so Christ our Lord underwent a variety of temptations, sorrows, conflicts, and sufferings, that he might be our prepared food, on whose expiatory death we may feed to the strengthening, refreshing, and comfort of our souls.
As corn grows out of the earth, so Christ, as it respects his human nature, is “the fruit of the earth, excellent and comely.” And as bread is a main part of human sustenance, as it nourishes and strengthens nature, and is a means of supporting and maintaining life; Christ is to the souls of believers, the “ true bread of life," who nourisheth
up their souls, as they feed by faith on him, “ to life everlasting.”
Secondly, we observe, that our Lord having took bread, which he in his infinite wisdom thought fit to set apart in this institution, to be a figure and symbol of his body, he blessed it; either by asking a blessing of his Father upon it, that whilst his disciples were eating it, their faith might be led to him, the “true bread of life;" and to his broken body, that they might spiritually feed and live on him, and by faith receive spiritual nourishment from him: or else giving thanks to his Father for what was signified by it, for the true bread he gave unto his people, even himself; and for the great love his Father had shewed in the gift
and mission of him for the great work of redemption, and all the blessings and benefits of it, which he sent him into the world to procure, and which were just on finishing. Also for all the might, strength, and assistance he gave to him as man and Mediator, in completing the business of salvation for his people.
Thirdly, we observe, that our Lord brake the bread as a symbol of his body being wounded, bruised and broken, through buffetings, scourgings, platting a crown of thorns, which was put upon his head, and piercing his hands and feet with nails, and his side with a spear.
Christ took the bread and brake it, denoting his willingness to lay down his life, to suffer and die in the room of his people. Which done, he gave the broken bread to his disciples, bidding them to take it, receive it into their own hands, as an emblem of their receiving him, and the blessings of his grace in a spiritual sense by the hand of faith, and eat it as a symbol of their receiving, eating, and living by faith on Christ crucified; saying, “This is my body;
which phrase is to be understood in a figurative sense; that it was a sign and symbol of his body," which is given for you;” it being broken to pieces, and as broken, represented his wounds, bruises, sufferings, and death, which was in their room and stead. “This do (says Christ unto them) in remembrance of me;" or, for a remembrance of me. Which, as it declares the nature and design of the ordinance, so it also contains our Lord's dying command, which we do well to observe and obey in faith, from love to him, and to his praise and glory. “ After the same manner also he took the cup after supper.” The disciples and himself, having both eaten the Paschal Supper, and said, “ This cup is the New Testament in my blood.” From which we observe as follows:
First, that the wine is appointed by Christ in this ordinance to be a symbol of his most precious blood; wine, the blood of the
grape, which makes glad the heart of man, is pressed from the grapes that it may be refreshing liquor to us, and is the fruit of the vine.
Our Lord says of himself, “ I am the true vine.” To which he may be compared, for the following reasons: the vine being a fruitful tree, brings forth and bears fruit in abundance, even in clusters; so Christ, as man and Mediator, is “ full of grace and truth,” of all spiritual blessings, and exceeding great and precious promises. From him comes the wine of divine love, the various blessings of grace, and the joys of heaven ; that best wine reserved by him till last.
Christ is the most excellent; to him agree all the properties of a real vine ; he really and truly communicates life, sap, juice, and nourishment, to the several branches which are in him.
As the cluster of grapes must be squeezed and pressed, that the juice may be ohtained ; so Christ's body was wounded, his soul bruised, his veins pressed, his hands and feet bored, that his most precious blood might flow forth, to cleanse, heal, justify, sanctify, and comfort us.
As wine is of a cheering and refreshing nature, so is a crucified Christ to a poor sinner; and the love of Christ