Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

burned. And thus all the essential, distinguishing marks of a real sacrifice were united in the offering of the paschal lamb.

This sacrifice was also, in its original institution, expiatory. The sprinkling of the blood was the appointed means for averting the wrath of God, when the destroying angel passed by the door of the house in which the offering was made.

Now, in the same sense in which the paschal lamb was sacrificed, “ Christ our passover, is sacrificed for us.” The type being an expiatory sacrifice, so must the antitype be. For the analogy, upon which the apostle's argument depends, would totally fail, if the death of Christ were either not a sacrifice at all, or a sacrifice of a nature entirely distinct from that of the paschal lamb.

III. The same comparison will elucidate the true nature of the Sacrament instituted by our Lord, at the same time in which he prophetically referred to the passover, as typical of himself. The paschal lamb being slain as a sacrifice, the eating the flesh of the victim was strictly analogous to those feasts upon the things sacrificed, which were universally established, both among Jews and

• See Exod. xviii. 12. xxxii. 6. xxxiv. 15. 1 Sam, i. 3, 4. xvi. 11. Cudworth on the Lord's Supper, ch. i.

heathens. And as the death of Christ corresponds with the sacrifice of the passover, the Christian eucharist, which we are commanded to keep, corresponds with the subsequent feast of the passover.

We celebrate these holy mysteries, not as a material sacrifice, nor only as a memorial of the death of Christ; but as the means by which the faithful partaker receives, continually, fresh accessions of grace and strength to his soul; as they, who were admitted to feast upon the sacrifices under the law, rose from the privileged banquet, with bodies invigorated and refreshed.

The Apostle Paul himself makes use of this analogy between the feasts upon the ancient sacrifices, whether offered by the Jews or by the heathens, and the communion of the body and blood of Christ.

He is commanding the Corinthians to flee from idolatry, to which they were peculiarly tempted : and, in answer to some question which they had propounded, is persuading them, that it is unlawful to partake of things which were confessedly offered to idols: he argues that although, as they justly alleged, neither the idol is any thing, nor that which is offered in sacrifice to idols any thing, different from what it

On this point see Waterland on the Eucharist, ch. xii.

say. The

was before; yet they, who ate of the things sacrificed to idols, are, by that very act, considered to become partakers of the sacrifice, and to hold communion with the demons to whom the offering is made.

The Apostle then proceeds to argue with them upon principles which, whether as Christians or as Jews, they could not deny ; “I speak,” says he, “as to wise men; judge ye what I

cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ," which was shed ? 66 The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ,” which was broken? Because the bread is one, we, being many, are one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold,” again, “ Israel after the flesh;" who worship God by sacrifices according to the law of Moses: “ Are not they which eat of the sacrifices, partakers” or communicants," “ of the altar ;” mutually participating in the benefits of the sacrifice ? “ What say I then ? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that

66

8 "Ότι εις άρτος, εν σώμα οι πολλοί εσμεν οι γαρ πάντες εκ Toù éves äptov metéxouev. 1 Cor. x. 17. See Waterland on the Eucharist, chap. viii.

h Koivwvor. Ver. 18.

ye should have fellowship with devils,” be, as it were, communicants of them. “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."

The whole argument of the Apostle is manifestly founded upon the fact, that the Christian eucharist is of the same nature with those feasts upon the things sacrificed, established among the Jews, by the sanction of their law, and among the Gentiles, either by imitation of the practice of the Jews, or by tradition from the patriarchal ages.

The analogy, thus assumed by the Apostle, supposes also the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, to be a federal rite: one of those covenanting ordinances, by which it has pleased the Almighty, conditionally, to offer advantages to his creatures, in return for their obedience and homage. The act of eating and drinking with one another, was one of the most ancient modes by which a covenant was ratified between man and man. And they who did eat of that which was offered upon the altar of God, did, in like manner, testify to the existence of a covenant between God and themselves. The act was a

k

5 Ου θέλω δε υμάς κοινωνους των δαιμονίων γένεσθαι. Ver. 20.

1 Cor. x. 15...21. I Gen. xxvi. 30. xxxi. 46. Josh. ix. 14. comp. Psalm xli. 9.

partaking of God's table, whereby he owned his guests to be in his favour, and under his protection; as they, by offering sacrifices, acknowledged him to be their God.” m

When, therefore, the Apostle draws a parallel between eating of the sacrifice, as practised by Israel after the flesh, and partaking of the communion of the body and blood of Christ, he presumes, what is also established upon other grounds, that this Holy Sacrament is “the new covenant in the blood of Christ :n and that they, who devoutly and worthily comply with the conditions required on their part, shall receive the invaluable blessings promised by God, and purchased by the death of his Son: as they, who partook of the sacrifices of the altar, were considered partakers of the benefits procured by the previous sacrifice.

Thus wonderful are the wisdom and mercy of God: thus consistent is the scheme, which he has formed, for the salvation of offending man, and revealed for his instruction. To redeem mankind from eternal death, Christ our passover was sacrificed. To this event all the prophecies, and ceremonies, and types of the law, had respect: in this they were fulfilled. The passover was, by the

m Potter on Church Government. » Luke xxii. 20. 1 Cor. xi. 25.

« AnteriorContinuar »