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a pitcher of water: follow him into the house where he cntereth in. 11 And ye shall say unto the good man of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the pnssover with my disciples? 12 And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.
The time for the celebration of the passover being now at hand, Christ sends two of bis disciples, Peter and John, to Jerusalem, to prepare what was needful in order thereunto; and here we have observable; 1. An eminent proof and evidence of Christ's divinity, in foretelling his disciples all the particular occurrences and circumstances which they should meet with in the city; as, a man bearing a pitcher of water, Sec. Observe, 2. How readily the heart of the householder was disposed to receive our Saviour and his disciples, and to accommodate them with all things needful upon this occasion. Our blessed Saviour had oot a lamb of his own, and peradventure no money wherewith to purchase one; yet be finds a more agreeable accommodation io this poor man's house, than if he bad dwelt in Ahab's ivory palace, and had the provisions of Solomon's table. When Christ has a passover to celebrate, he will dispose the hearts of his children and servants to a free reception of himself. The room that Christ will enter into must be a large room, an upper room, a room furnished and prepared: a large room, is the emblem of an enlarged heart, enlarged with love, with joy and thankfulness; an upper room, is an heart exalted, not puffed up with pride, but lifted up by heavenly meditations; and a room furnished, is a soul adorned with all the graces of the Holy Spirit: into such an heart doth Christ enter, and there delights to dwell: Here is mu rest for ever, says Christ; here will I d-xcf!, for I have a delight therein.
14 And when the hour Whs come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said unto them, With desire 1 hare desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 10 For I say unto you, I
will not any more cat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 10 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. 21 But, behold, the hand of hint that betray, eth me is with me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of man goeth as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed t 23 And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.
Observe here, 1. What ardency of desire, and vehemency of affection our holy Lord expresses, to celebrate the passover wilh his disciples, and to administer the sacramental supper to them before he left them: With desire have I desired to rat -with you before I suffer. Thence learn, That it is very necessary, when sufferings do appear, especially when death doth approach, to have immediate recourse to the table of the Lord, which affords both an antidote against fear, and is a restorative to our faith. Christ, the night before he suffered, communicated with his disciples. Observe, 2. The unexampled boldness of the impudent traitor Judas; though he had sold his Master, he presumes to sit down at the table with him, and with the other disciples: had the presence of Judas polluted this ordinance to any but himself, doubtless our Saviour would not have suffered him to approach unto it. It teaches us, That although nothing be more ordinary than for unholy persons to press into the holy ordinances of God which they have no right (whilst such) to approach unto, yet their presence pollutes the ordinances only to themselves. Holy persons are not polluted by their sins, therefore ought not to be discouraged from coming, by their presence. Observe, 3. Christ did not name Judas, and say, O thou perfidious traitor; but, Behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. Doubtless Christ did not name him, because he would not drive him to despair, but draw him to repentance. But, Lord, thou knowest us when thou namest us not. O how sad is it .for any of thy family, who pretend friendship with thee, to conspire against thee; and after they have eat of thy bread, to lift up the heel against thee! Observe, 4. That though Judas was not named, yet he saw himself pointed at by our Saviour: Behold the hand that betrayeth me is on the table; and Judas' heart told him whose hand that was; yea, though Judas heard that dreadful sentence denounced against him, Woe to the man by whom the Son of man is betrayed; ytt lie is no more blanked than innocency itself: this shameless man had the impudence to say to our blessed Saviour, Master, is it I? though St. Luke says it not, the other Evangelists tell us, that Christ answered him, Thou sayest it. Did not Judas (think we) blush extremely, and hang down his guilty head, at so galling an intimation? Nothing less; we read not of any thing like it. Lord! how does obstinacy in sinning steel the brow, and render it incapable of all relenting impressions! Immediately after the celebration of the passover, followed the institution of the Lord's supper; where we have observable, The author, the time, the elements, and the ministerial actions. Observe, 1. The author of this new sacrament, Jesus took bread. Learn thence, That to institute a sacrament is the sole prerogative of Jesus Christ; the church has no power to make new sacraments; it is only her duty to celebrate those which our Saviour has made. 2. The time of the institution, the night before the passion: The night in which he was betrayed, he took bread. 3. The sacramental elements, bread and wine; bread representing the body, and wine the blood of our Redeemer: bread being an absolutely necessary food, a common and obvious food, a strengthening and refreshing food; and wine being the most excellent drink; the most pleasant and delightful, the most cordial and restorative; for these reasons amongst others, did Christ consecrate and set these creatures apart for those holy purposes for which he designed them. 4. The ministerial actions, breaking of the bread and blessing of the cup: Jesus took Iread; that is, separated it, and set it
apart from common use, for holy purposes: lie blessed it, that is, lie prayed for a blessing upon it, and brake it, thereby shadowing forth his body broken upon the cross: and he gave it to his disciples, saying, This broken bread signifies my body, which is suddenly to be broken upon the cross , tor the redemption and salvation of a lost world. Do you likewise this in remembrance of my death. As to the cup, Christ having set it apart by prayer and thanksgiving, he commands his disciples to drink all of it; For, says he, this cup is the new test*ment in my blood: that is, the wine io this cup doth represent the sliedding of my blood, by which the new covenant between God and man is ratified and confirmed. Drink ye all of this, says our Saviour: "hence we gather, That every communicant has as undoubted a right to the cup, as he has to the bread in the Lonfi supper; therefore for the church of Rome to deny the cup to the common people is sacrilege, and directly contrary to Christ's institution.
24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called Hencfaetors. 26 Rut ye shall not be so: but lie that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he thut doth serve. 27 For whether ts greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth ? it not he that sitteth at meat? but 1 am among you as he that serreth.
If thete words be not placed out of order by St. Luke here, it may seem very strange, that the apostles, immediately after the receiving trie sacrament, should entertain their minds with thoughts of precedency and superiority; and much stranger yet, that Hi! v should discourse openly of such a subject as this, especially considering what our Saviour had just before told them, that he was betrayed into the hands of simen. But whether at this time or not, it is most certain, at some time or other a strife was found amongst them, which should be the Hreatest. Now that our Saviour might eflectually quench those unhappy sparks of amhition which were kindled in his aposties' minds, he tells them that supremacy and dominion belong to secular princes, not to evangelical pastors, who ought to carry themselves with humility and condescension one towards another. Not that Christ directs to a parity and equality amongst his ministers, or forhids the pre-eminency of some over others; but the affecting of superiority, and the love of pre-eminency, is that whichourSaviourdisalloweth. Learn, 1. That so far ought the ministers of Christ to be from affecting a domination and superiority of power over their fellow-brethren, that, in imitation of Christ their Lord and Master, they ought to account themselves fellow-servants: I am among you as one that serveth. 2. That such ministers as do love and affect pre-eminency and superiority, are most unfit for it, and they deserve it best that seek it least. 3. That the dignity and honour which the ministers of Christ should chiefly and only affect, is in another world; and the way to be the greatest and highest there, is to be low and humble here; mean in our own eyes, and little in our own esteem: Whosoever it chiif, says Christ, let him be your servant.
28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations: 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and- sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Observe here, What an honourable acknowledgment Christ makes of the constancy of his disciples' love and affection towards him: Ye are they that have continued -with me in my temptations: that is, in my afflictions, trials, and sufferings. It is an easy matter to ahide with Christ in days of peace, in times of consolation; but when we are under afflictions, temptations, and troubles, then to ahide and keep close to Christ, this is the proof of love and friendship : and as Christ makes an honourable mention of thair constancy towards him, so he presently assures them of an honourable reward: I appoint unto you a kingdom. Learn thence, That such as are sharers with Christ in his sufferings, shall certainly communicate with him in his glory: If -we suffer -with him, -we shall also reign -with him. And whereas our Saviour promises his apostles to sit upon
thrones -with him judging the twelve tribes of Israel: we may gather, That such ministers as do most service for Christ, and forsake most to follow him, and continue in temptation and tribulation with him, shall in his kingdom parlukc of most honour and dignity with him and from him: You shall eat and drink in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel: possibly the apostles, and all the zealous, faithful and laborious ministers of Jesus Christ, shall be nearer his throne in heaven, than either saints or angels; nearer than the angels, because by Christ's assuming the human nature, they are more nearly allied to him; he is their friend, but our brother; and nearer than other saints, as having done moreeminent service for Christ, and brought more honour and glory to him by a laborious diligence in their place and station, Dan. xii. 3. They that turn many to righteousness shall shine, Sec.
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Here I shall give, 1. The general sense of the words. 2. The particular matters contained in them. 3. The special observation from them. The sense of the words is this; as for you my disciples in general, and for thee Peter in particular, I must tell thee, that Satan hath accused you all before God, and desires that he may have the sifting of you all by his winnowing winds of temptation and persecution, that he may shake your faith, and weaken your confidence; but I have prayed for you all, and particularly for thyself who art in greatest danger of falling, because so confident of thine own strength and standing, that thy faith, though severely shaken, may not utterly fail; and when by repentance thou art recovered from thy fall, be careful to confirm and strengthen others, that they fall not in like manner. The particular matters contained in these words, are these; a christian's danger, a christian's safety, and a christian's duty. 1. A christian's danger, Satan hath desired to sift you. Where observe, 1. The person particularly warned of the danger, Simon, Simon; the doubling of the word, doubtless, carries a
special intimation with it: it denotes the greatness and nearness of Peter's danger, his own security and insensibleness of thai danger, and the great affection of Christ his monitor, to give him warning of his danger. Observe, 2. The warning itself, and that is, of a devilish conspiracy against himself and all the apostles, Satan hath desired to have you; to have you for his own, if it might be; to have you as believers, rather than other men; to have you as eminent believers, rather than other christians; and to have you as apostles and ministers, rather than other eminent believers. And as Satan has desired to have you, so to sift you too, to winnow you as wheat; not to fetch out the chaff, but to make the chaff. Here note, That Satan has his winnowing winds of temptation, and his tempestuous winds of persecution, for the sifting of God's children. Note farther, That it is the wheat, the good corn, that Satan winnows; not chaff, nor dross; sinners, that are all chaff, and nothing but dross, Satan will not be at the pains to sift and winnow them. But what is this sifting? A nswer. In sifting, two things are performed; 1. The agitation, shaking and tossing of the corn from side to side. The separation of the corn from the chaff and dust; Satan intends the former, God effects the latter: Cribratione non perdilur, sed purgatur frumenlum; The corn is improved, not impaired, by winnowing. The saints of God shall be no losers in the end by Satan's temptations, how many and strong soever they may be in the way. Observe, 2. The christian's safety: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. Where note, 1. The care that Christ had of Peter, and in him of all believers: / have prayed for thee; for thee as a believing christian, and for thee as a tempted christian; and 'tis not said, I will pray for thee, but I have prayed for thee. Christ prayed for Peter, before Peter understood that he had need of Christ's prayer; Christ prayed for Peter as soon as ever Satan desired to sift Peter. Our Intercessor is full as nimble and speedy in his suit for us, as Satan is in his accusations against us: he has desired, but I have prayed; he is a potent assailant, but thou hast a powerful assistant. Observe, 2. The subject matter prayed for, That thy faith fail not: not that thy faith be not assaulted, not that thy faith be not shaken, but that thy faith may not fail by an absolute and total deficiency. The third particular is the chris
tian's duty: When thou art convcrlca strengthen thy brethren. When converted; that is, when recovered from thy fall, when restored upon thy repentance to the divine favour. This conversion is not from a state of sin; Peter was so converted before; but it was from an act of sin, into which he should lapse and relapse; Strengthen thy brethren; that is, establish others in the faith, from which thou art shamefully fallen thyself. Now the lessons of instruction from the whole are these: 1. That temptations are like siftings: God sifts to purge away our dust and dross; Satan silts, not to get out the chaff; but to bolt out the flour; his temptations are levelled against our faith. 2. That Satan has a continual desire to be sifting and winnowing God's flour; Satan's own children are all bran, all chaff, these he sifts nut: God's children have flour mixed with bran, good wheat mixed with chaff; these lit desires to sift, winnow, and lan; not to separate the bran and dross, but to destroy the flour. Learn, 3. That the intercession of Christ gives security, satisfaction, and encouragement to all believers, that though their faith may, by temptations, be shaken and assaulted, yet, that it shall never be finally vanquished and overcome: J have prayed that thy faith fail not. 4. That lapsed christians, when recovered and restored, ought to endeavour to restore and to recover, to strengthen and establish others: When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and to death. 34 And lie said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
St Peter's resolution to accompany Christ both to prison and to death, was holy and good; but his too confident opinion of his own strength and ability so to do, without a divine aid and assistance, was his failing and infirmity. Self-confidence is a sin too incident to the holiest and best of men. Little did St. Peter think what a feather he should be in the wind of temptation, if once God left him to himself, and to Satan's assaults. Learn farther, How hard a matter it is for a christian to excel in gifts, and not to be over-confident and conceited. To see a man eminent in gifts.
and yet exemplary in humility, is a rare sight -, if we stand in the evil day, 'tis an bumble fear of falling that must enable us to stand.
35 And he said unto lhem. When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing f And they said, Nothing. 30 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 For I say unto you, That this that is written must yet he accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. 38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
As if our Lord had said, " Hitherto I have been with you, and you have had my special protection and careful provision, though you went without purse, scrip, or sword: but the time is now at hand when I must leave you; when your friends will be few, and your enemies roanv; therefore make such provision for yourselves, as prudence shall direct. Indeed, my sufferings will be first; I must be numbered with the transgressors, and all things that are written of me must be accomplished, and will suddenly be fulfilleB; and after me you will next come upon the stage, therefore prepare and provide for it." Learn, That Christ having forewarned his members, but especially his ministers, of the dangers, distresses, and difficulties that they are to conflict and encounter with; it is their duty, by faith and patience, with courage and christian resolution, to be well armed and prepared against them.
39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing,
remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, he done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And, being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 40 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
Our blessed Saviour being now come to the mount of Olives, and having entered with his disciples into the garden near it, whither he used to retire and piay; in this place he falls into a hitter and bloody agonv, in which he prayed with wonderful fervour and importunity ; his sufferings were now coming on a great pace, and he meets them upon his knees, and would be found in a praying posture. Learn thence, that prayer is the best preparative for, as well as the most powerful support under, the heaviest sufferings that can befall us. As to tins prayer of our Saviour, in his agony, many particulars are very observable. As, 1. The time when he prayed thus extraordinarily; it was the evening before he suffered, just before Judas with his black guard came to apprehend him; and when he did come, he found him in a praying posture; our Lord teaching us by his example, that when imminent dangers are before us, especially when death is apprehended by us, it is our duty to be very much in prayer to God, and very fervent in our wrestlings with him. Observe, 2. The subject matter of our Lord's prayer, That, if possible, the cup mitrlit pass from him; that is, that he might escape the dreadful wrath, at which he was so sore amazed. But what! did Christ now begin to repent of his undertaking for sinners? did he shrink and give back, when he came to the pinch? No, nothing like this; but as he had two natures, beiug God and Man, so he had two distinct wills; as Man he feared and shunned death, as God-man he willingly submitted to it. The divine nature and the human spirit of Christ did now assault each other with disagreeing interests. Again, this prayer was not absolute, but conditional: "Father, if it may be, if thou