Imágenes de páginas

pent-up stream, gushed forth. Words of heavenly thought flowed from his sacred lips, and He said

JOHN xiii. 31, 32. "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him."

The work of Redemption is the glory of the Son of Man, and the fulfilment of God's glory; for by it darkness is as it were turned into light, and the malice of Satan forced to become the means of a higher good. A wondrous event was at hand, even the fulfilment of the first declaration made to Satan himself, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed, and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heal." Enmity there had ever been, for even as Judas went out from the circle of the disciples, and left them alone with their Lord, so sooner or later do all the enemies of Christ separate themselves from his friends. There can be no real fellowship between them. Circumstances may bring them together, side by side they may seem to walk through life, but they have nothing in common, their hearts are apart, they cannot be agreed. This had been the world's history from the beginning, but now the set time was come. The heel of the seed of the woman was about to be bruised, did Satan seem to triumph? He had no need, for it was his head that should be bruised; his power was about to be crushed for evermore.

"Now is the Son of Man glorified" said our Lord, "and God is glorified in him." He had not yet entered the dark vale of his last sufferings, the bitter cup of death was not yet held to his lips, but He looked on straight to the end. He thought not of the agonies that lay between; the glories of man's redemption alone filled his mind, and he rejoiced in the finished work as though it were already accomplished, though

it could only be completed by his death. He expressed this in the words we have just read, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him." But he ends not here, his words point on to a further glory yet to be revealed. The sacrifice of himself for the atonement of the sin of man he looked upon as already done; but that which it was to accomplish, though near at hand, was yet to come. The manhood of Christ had yet to be received into heaven. He had come from his Father's bosom to do His will, and that he might do it, he lived on earth in a human form, in veiled glory. To his Father's bosom he was to return, but not as he had left it, in his divine nature only. The human nature. which he had dignified, by taking it upon himself, was by him to be raised to "the right hand of God." In human form he had lived and was to die on earth, in human form he would soon return to glory; thus taking human nature with him and uniting it to the divine. This was to be the Redeemer's glory, and, if we may so express it, his reward for all his toils. This was that which God the Father had still to do for his son, therefore Jesus said, speaking of himself as the Son of Man, "If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself (by taking his, the Son's, human nature, sanctified by his use, into His divine nature) and shall straightway glorify him." Immediately on our Lord's return to heaven should this be done, and oh what a glory does it throw on man. Weak, suffering, liable to sin as he still is, he is yet represented by Jesus the Redeemer at God's right hand. How complete is Satan's overthrow! How perfect the glory of God, in the Son of Man thus glorified in Him.

Do we believe it? Why then do we ever grieve over present disappointments? why look with fear to the future? Death itself cannot harm us, our mortal nature has become immortal. It is now in glory, in Christ, united with the Father, and straightway all who are His shall be with Him. The whole work is His Spirit, repeated in all Christians, for Christ first

glorifies Himself in them, then receives them body and spirit into glory.

Our blessed Lord having thus spoken proceeded to establish that holy rite which while time lasts, not only shew forth but perpetuates His actual union with His followers.

He was still at table with his disciples; the Passover-feast was not yet finished, for St. Matthew and St. Mark both write,


MATTHEW XXVI. 26. "And as they were eating, Jesus (MARK xiv. 22.) took bread, and blessed it, and gave to the disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my body, (Luke xxii. 19, 20.) which is given for you, this do in remembrance of Likewise also he took of the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (MATTHEW Xxvi. 27.) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it: (MARK xvi. 23, 24.) and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many, (MATTHEW Xxvi. 28.) for the remission of sins. (Verse 29.) But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my father's kingdom."

Thus simply was established that sacred rite, which, as it were, binds heaven and earth together.

In it, the past, the present, and the future are brought into one point. In the mind of God they are but one, and, as much as we can so receive it, this holy rite brings within our reach as one, the glory of the Father in the past and finished. work of our redemption; in the sacrifice of the Son, pictured by the bread, as His body, broken; and by the wine, as His blood poured out. The glory of the Son, in the present work, raising and sanctifying our mortal nature by imparting to us the divine

nature; this is pictured by the sacred bread being eaten, and the wine drank, and so received by us into our bodies, that they may become the strength and nourishment of our souls, and the future triumph when our bodies shall be raised from the tomb, by the Lord of Life, and we shall be received body and soul into glory, when Christ shall return for His own, and take them with Him to His Father's kingdom. This, the complete triumph of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit is not pictured but expressed, by the words of Christ, when He says, 'I will not henceforth drink of the fruit of the vine, till I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.' St. Paul some years afterwards, when teaching the early Christians, thus writes of the Holy sacrament, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this wine, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come." Thus doth it stretch back to Christ's past death upon the cross; reach forward to his future return, and bring both to the present work of raising, sanctifying, and uniting to Himself, the fallen nature of sinful but believing man. It is the Lord's farewell blessing to His church. How different from what man could have devised! When he would make an impression upon the minds of his fellow-men, there is always a striving after something grand in pomp and ceremony. Not so with God: "The Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood, this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come." *

And this was all. How complete and God-like in its Divine simplicity-perfect in the perfect love it represents, as different from the grandest religious ceremonies invented by men, as the

* 1 Corinthians ii. 28.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

light of the quiet moon and solemn stars shedding unearthly beauty from the heaven upon the night, is different from the garish illuminations and noisy pomp with which men seek to mark a day or a time they think worthy of remembrance.

Is it not strange, that any who love their Lord should fear to obey His last command,-"Do this in remembrance of me? None such would fear were Scripture followed in its early truth, but men have so wrapped round it the different feelings and opinions of their own minds, that the mind of Christ has by some been well nigh lost sight of. In the eager desire to "fence the table of the Lord" from such as Judas, so much of warning and reproof, and even of condemnation has been added, that a terror has been thrown round the sacrament of love, and the humbleminded and the timid have too often been frightened from the table of their Lord.

Let us pause to consider whether there is any cause for fear. In the Passover all things spake of sin's deservings. The slain lamb-the bitter herbs-men eating of them (as at first appointed) with their loins girded, and their staffs in their hands, ready to escape for their lives-all marked a sense of fear and needful haste. A promised land was indeed before them, but there was a toilsome journey to reach it. The blood of the Lamb was on their door-posts, and the angel of death had passed over them, but they had still to escape from the house of bondage. The Passover Feast, like the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, pointed to the past, the present, and the future, for while it showed the first great truth, that, without shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins, it brought at once to mind, the miserable slavery which had ground down the sons of Israel, the dangers of the escape, and the hope of the promised land that lay beyond the wilderness, but there was nothing finished in it. It was most expressively a sacrament of works; yet like all the works of the law leading us to Christ; for without the blood of the Lamb those who partook of it

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »