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serve the memory of any thing by some public act. We find that God frequently appointed memorials of past transactions of magnitude, to declare to future generations his glorious works. Thus circumcision was appointed as a memorial of the covenant with Abraham; the stones taken out of Jordan, were appointed as a memorial of their passing across that river on dry land; the passover, (in addition to its typical design,) was appointed as a memorial, a perpetually repeated memorial, of the deliverance of the Jews from Egypt. We should, if left to ourselves, soon forget our beneficent Deliverer, and the pride of our hearts is ever tending to lead us to rely on ourselves, rather than simply rest on his promises of salvation; and hence the need of this memorial. The connection of the precept in which we are required to do this in remembrance of Christ, shews that we are called on chiefly to remember his death and sufferings. Let us not remember them transiently and slightly, but deeply, seriously, and constantly. Let us recollect at the same time his original dignity and glory, his wonderful humiliation and abasement, his extreme sufferings, and painful death, his resurrection, ascension, and consequent glory. We
may at all times with advantage remember Jesus Christ as a MARTYR, witnessing a good confession before Pontius Pilate, (1 Tim. vi, 13,) and sealing it with bis blood --as an EXAMPLE of suffering obedience even unto death, (1 Pet. ii, 21.) as a CONQUEROR, even in death triumphing over all his enemies; but it is particularly as A SACRIFICE FOR sin, that we should - regard his death when we surround his table.
Let not your minds be turned from this one point,
but remember that Jesus Christ died for your siás, and keep in view the benefits thereby procured for you. It was remarked by a much-valued friend, (the late Rev. W. Richardson, of York,) that many
sincere worshippers deprive themselves of much of that comfort and strength which they might have received at the Lord's table, by not having a single eye to the great object designed by that ordinance. Instead of keeping their minds steadily fixed upon Jesus Christ, as the Lamb that was slain, and dwelling on his sacrifice, and the efficacy of his blood, they have by turns meditated
a variety of other religious truths. They have endeavoured, for instance, to take a comprehensive view of the offices of Christ, and the various doctrines of his Gospel. This, though not so common a digression as vain and worldly thoughts, and not in itself a blameable one, may yet prevent our deriviag that special benefit to be looked for in this sacrament, “ the strengthening and refreshing of our souls by the body and blood of Christ,” if it lead us from fixing our main thoughts on his death, for our sins. Those who wish to be comforted by this ordinance, should determine, while engaged in it, to know nothing, and to think of nothing comparatively, save Jesus Christ, and hinn crucified, and what is directly connected with that cheer-, ing and leading truth of the Gospel. It is here taken for granted that such know the evil of sin, wish earnestly to be healed of their spiritual maladies, and stedfastly purpose to lead a new life, for no other guests are iavited to the Lord's Table. But, on this supposition, no sense of unworthiness, none of the suspicions inseparable from conscious guilt, no respect to other religious doctrines, or topics, which in their
season ought to engage our attention, should draw away our main thoughts from this capital truth of the Gospel. Nor shall we, if thus steadily and singly looking to the dying Saviour, depart from his table without some degree of strength and refreshment. It has been well observed, “ There are seasons in the Christian's life iņ which the name of Jesus comes to his heart like a live coal from the altar, and brings with it a warınth, a feeling, and a joy, which angels might come down from heaven to share."
While the Lord's Supper commemorates, it also shews forth the death of Christ. 1 Cor. x, 26.
There is a precept respecting the observance of the passover which will illustrate this subject. It shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean you by this service ? that ye shull say, It is the Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of the chil. dren of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians and delivered our houses. Exod. xii, 16. Similar to this is the shewing, the declaring, and openly publishing the Lord's death at his table.
But what do you shew forth, or declare? We declare the FACT OF HIS DEATH. It has been observed, that when a fact is such that men's "outward senses can judge of it; 'when it is performed publicly in the presence of witnesses; when there are public institutions kept up in memory of it; and such institutions com, mence, and are 'established at the time when the fact took place, it becomes a decisive and incontrovertible evidence of the truth of the fact. It is impossible that
See Bradley's Sermons.
such an event did not take place. In this view, then, the continual commemoration of the death of Christ is, from age to age, a plain, manifest, and satisfactory evidence of his death to all mankind, and that death a sacrifice for sin. It is a standing proof of that great. fact which is the foundation of all our hopes.
We declare THE MANNER OF HIS DEATH. That though perfectly innocent, and the only-begotten and the beloved Son of God, his bodily and mental sufferings were most painful and severe. The breaking of
. the bread declares his body broken--the pouring out of the wine his blood shed. And in how many ways was that body broken! Mark his anguish and passion in Gethsemane; his being smitten, spitten on, mocked, and buffeted in the ball of judgment! His enemies put a crown of thorns on his head, and they smite them into his temples. After they had scourged him, the devoted victim is compelled to bear his own cross, till he sinks under the load. At length the iron nails were driven through the tender nerves, and he was suspended on the accursed tree. * Every part of his holy body was
* Crucifixion was a most painful and ignominious mode of executing criminals. It was a Roman punishment, and only ipflicted on slaves. The cross was made of two beams placed across, sometimes nearly in the form of a T. and sometimes in that of an X. Our Saviour's cross is said to have been of the former kind. This mode of death, as it was in the highest degree excruciating, so it was generally very lingering. First, the criminal was severely scourged. Next, he bore his cross, or part of it, to the place of execution. When he came thither, his clothes were entirely stripped off, and either before or after the cross was erected, his hands were sometimes bound, but ordinarily nailed to the cross beam, and his feet to the lower part. Large nails, rude and cruel instruments of torture, were thus forcibly driven through the most sensible parts of the body; and as they sustained part, if not the whole
bruised and wounded. After lingering several hours in this agony, and receiving gall and vinegar in derision, he expired, amid the bitter taunts and revilings of those he came to save, and bearing the heary wrath of him in whose bosom he had for ever dwelt. And even after his death, one of the soldiers, in wanton indignity and derision, with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came thereout blood and water.
We there declare THE TRUE CAUSE OF HIS DEATH. If Jesus Christ had deserved to suffer, if like other men he had himself sinned, then there would have been no cause thus to celebrate his death. But he was wounded for our transgressions. “In the ordinary
“ course of justice," says Bishop Andrews, " when a party is put to death, we say, and say truly, that the executioner cannot be said to be the cause of his death, nor the sheriff by whose commandment he does it, nor yet the judge by whose sentence, nor the jury by whose verdict, nor the law itself by whose authority it pro-, ceeded. Sin and sin only is the murderer. In a certain sense it is so here. It was the sin of our polluted hands that pierced his hands; the swiftness of our feet to do evil, that nailed his feet to the tree; the wicked devices of our head that gored his head; and the wretched devices of our heart that pierced his heart; our sinfulness caused his death, and his death takes
weight of the body, the pain must have been peculiarly exquisite. Thus the criminal hung, till hunger, thirst, and acute pain, dismissed him from intolerable suffering. Thus, christian reader, for our redemption, naked, despised, agonizing with pain, and exposed to the most cruel mockings, hung for several hours the indocent and holy Jesus, the Creator and the Saviour of the world !