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a sacrifice, it was to come in the room of that ordinance. Christ is to us the passover-sacrifice hy which atonement is made (1 Cor. v. 7); Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us. This ordinance is to us the passover-supper, by which application is made, and commemoration celebrated, of a much greater deliverance than that of Israel out of Egypt. All the legal sacrifices of propitiation being summed up in the death of Christ, and so abolished, all the legal feasts of rejoicing were sunimed up in this sacrament, and so abolished.
The following remarks may be made upon the institution itself. A sacrament must be instituted; it is no part of moral worship, nor is it dictated by natural light, but has both its being and significancy from the institution, from a divine institution. It is his prerogative who established the covenant, to appoint the seals of it. Hence the apostle (1 Cor. xi. 23, &c.) in that discourse of his concerning this ordinance, all along calls Jesus Christ “ The Loril,” because as Lord, as Lord of the covenant, Lord of the Church, he appointed this ordinance. In this sacrament the body of Christ is signified and represented by the bread. He had said formerly (John vi. 35), “ I am the bread of life;" upon which metaphor this sacrament is built. As the life of the body is supported by bread, which is therefore put for all bodily nourishment (chap. iv. 4, vi. 1), so the life of the soul is supported and maintained by Christ's mediation.
Jesus took bread. That is, the unleavened bread which they used at the celebration of the passover, made into thin cakes, easily broken and distributed. q And blessed it. Or sought a blessing on it; or gave thanks to God for it. The word rendered blessed, not unfrequently means to give thanks. Compare Luke ix. 16, and John vi. 11. It appears, from the writings of Philo and the rabbins, that the Jews were never accustomed to eat without giving thanks to God, and seeking his blessing. This was especially the case in both the bread and the wine used at the passover.
And brake it. This breaking of the bread represented the sufferings of Jesus, about to take place-his body broken or wounded for sin. Hence (1 Cor. xi. 24), “ This is my body, which is broken for you.” That is, which is about to be broken for you by death, or wounded, pierced, bruised, to make atonement for your sins. . This is my body. This represents my body. This broken bread shows the manner in which my body will be broken; or, this will serve to call my dying sufferings to your remembrance. It is not meant that his body would be literally broken, as the bread was, but that the bread would be a significant emblem or symbol to reca!l to their remembrance his sufferings. It is not improbable that our Lord pointed to the broken bread, or laid his bands on it, as if he had said, “ Lo, my body!” or, “ Behold my body!—that which represents my broken body to you." This could not be intended to mean, that that bread was literally his body. It was not. His body was then before them living. And there is no greater absurdity than to imagine his living body there changed at once to death, and then the bread to be changed into that dead body, and all the while the living body of Jesus was before them. Yet this is the absurd and impossible doctrine of the Roman Catholics—holding that the bread and wine were literally changed into the body and blood of our Lord. This was a common mode of speaking among the Jews, and exactly similar to that used by Moses at the institution of the passover. “It (that is, the lamb) is the Lord's passover.” Exod. xii. 11. That is, “ The lamb and the feast represent the Lord's passing over the houses of the Israelites; it serves to remind you of it.” It surely cannot be meant, that that lamb was the literal passing over their houses (a palpable absurdity), but that it represented it. So Paul and Luke say of the bread, “This is my body broken for you; this du in REMEMBRANCE of me." This expresses the whole design of the sacramental bread. It is to call to remembrance in a vivid manner the dying sufferings of our Lord. The sacred writers, moreover, often denote that one thing is represented by another, by using the word is. See Matt. xiii. 37. “ He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man ;” that is, represents the Son of man. Gen. xli. 26, “ The seven good kine are seven years ;" that is, represent or signify seven years. See also John xv. 1, 5; Gen xvii. 10. The meaning of this important passage may be thus expressed, -—" As I give this broken bread to you, to eat, so will I deliver my body to be afflicted and slain for your sins.” Believing on Christ is expressed by receiving him (John i. 12), and feeding upon him. John vi. 57, 58.
The blood of Christ is signified and represented by the wine. To make it a complete feast, there is not only bread to strengthen, but wine to make glad the heart, vers. 27, 28.
And he took the cup. That is, the cup of wine which they used at the feast of the passover, called the cup of hallel, or praise, because they commenced then repeating the psalms with which they closed the passover. 9 For this is my blood. This represents my blood; as the bread my body. Luke and Paul vary the expression, adding, what Matthew and Mark have omitted, “ This is the new testament in my blood.” By “ this cup," is meant the wine in the cup, and not the cup itself. Pointing to it, probably, he said, “ This (wine) represents my blood about to be shed.” The phrase, new testament, should have been rendered "new covenant," referring to the covenant or compact that God has made with men through a Redeemer. Anciently, covenants or contracts were ratified
c Mark xiv. 27; John xvi. 32.
e Zech. xiii. 7.
qy slaying an animal--hy the shedding of its blood : so the gospel economy is sealed or ratified with the blood of Christ.
It is shed for the remission of sins; that is, to purchase remission of sins for us. The redemption which we have through his blood, is the remission of sins. Eph. i. 7. The new covenant, which is procured and ratified by the blood of Christ, is a charter of pardon, an act of indemnity, in order to a reconciliation between God and man; for sin was the only thing that made the quarrel, and witbout the shedding of blood is no remission. Ileb. ix. 22. The pardon of sin is that great blessing which is, in the Lord's supper, conferred upon all true believers; it is the foundation of all other blessings, and the spring of everlasting comfort. Chap. ix. 2, 3. 31 Then saith Jesus unto them, "All ve shall be offended because of me
this night: for it is written, "I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep
ś Chap. xxviii. 7, 10, 16; Mark xiv. 28, xvi. 7.
& Mark xiv. 30; Luke xxii. 34; John xiii. 38. We have here Christ's discourse with his disciples upon the way, as they were going to the mount of Olives. All ye shall be offended because of me this night. That is, they would all be so frightened with the sufferings, that they would not have the courage to cleave to him in them, but would all basely desert him. Offences will come among the disciples of Christ in an hour of trial and temptation. There are some temptations and offences, the effects of which are general and universal among Christ's disciples-All ye shall be offended. Christ had lately discovered to them the treachery of Judas; but let not the rest he secure—though there will be but one traitor, they will be all deserters. This he saith to alarm them all, that they might all watch. We have need to prepare for sudden trials, which may come to extremity in a very little time. Christ and his disciples had eaten their supper well together, in peace and quietness; yet that very night proved such a night of offence. I will smite the shepherd, ver. 31. It is quoted from Zech. xii. 7. Here is the smiting of the Shepherd in the sufferings of Christ. God awakens the sword of his wrath against the Son of his love, and he is smitten. The scattering of the sheep thereupon, in the flight of the disciples. When Christ fell into the hands of his enemies, his disciples ran, one one way and another another; it was each one's care to shift for himself—and happy he that could get furthest from the cross. After I am risen again, I will go before you, ver. 31. Though you will for
I will not forsake you ; though you fall, I will take care you shall not fall finally: we shall have a meeting again in Galilee-I will go before you, as the shepherd before the sheep."
Though all men be offended, yet will I never be offended, ver. 33. Peter had a great stock of confidence, and was upon all occasions forward to speak, especially to speak for himself. Sometimes it did him a kindness, but at other times it betrayed him, as it did here. He bound himself with a promise, that he would never be offended in Christ; not only not this night, but at no time. He fancied himself better armed against temptation than any one else, and this was his weakness and folly—though all men shall be offended, yet will not I. It argues a great degree of self-conceit and self-confidence, to think ourselves either safe from the temptations or free from the corruptions that are common to men. We should rather say, “ If it be possible that others may be offended, there is danger that I may be so.” But it is common for those who think too well of themselves, easily to admit suspicions of others. See Gal. vi. 1. Verily I say unto thee, ver. 34. * Take my word for it, who know thee better than thou knowest thyself.” Peter promised that he would not be so much as offended in Christ-not desert him; but Christ tells him that he will go further—he will disown him. He said, Though all men, yet not I ; and he did it sooner than any. Our Lord also tells him how quickly he should do it. This night, before to-morrow, nay, before cock-crowing. Satan's temptations are compared to darts (Eph. vi. 16), which wound ere we are aware. Suddenly doth he shoot. As we know not how near we may be to trouble, so we know not how near we may be to sin ; if God leave us to ourselves, we are always in danger.
Though I should die with thee, ver. 35. He supposed the temptation strong, when he said, Though all men do it, yet will not 1; but here be supposeth it stronger, when he puts it to the
peril of life, Though I should die with thee. He knew what he should do-rather die with Christ than deny him ; it was the condition of discipleship (Luke xiv. 26); and he thought what he would do--never be false to his Master, whatever it cost him : yet, it proved, he was. It is easy to talk boldly and carelessly of death at a distance." I will rather die than do such a thing ;” but it is not 50 soon done as said, when it comes to the point, and death shows itself in its own colours. What Peter said the rest subscribed to-Likewise also said all the disciples. There is a proneness in good men to be over-confident of their own strength and stability. We are ready to think ourselves able to grapple with the strongest temptations, to go through the hardest and most hazardous services, and to bear the greatest afflictions, for Christ; but it is because we do not know ourselves. 36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and
saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death : tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, "O my Father, if it be possible, "let this cup pass from me: nevertheless 'not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 PWatch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation : the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again : for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest : behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
h Mark xiv. 32-35; Luke xxii. 39; John xviii. l. i Chap. iv. 21. k John xii, 27. I Mark xiv. 46; Luke xxii. 42; Heb. v. 7. m John xii. 27. n Chap. xx. 22. o John v. 30, vi. 38; Phil. ii. 8. p Mark xiii. 33, xiv. 38; Luke xxii. 40, 46; Eph, vi. 18.
Hitherto, we have seen the preparatives for Christ's sufferings; now, we enter upon the bloody
In these verses we bave the story of his agony in the garden. This was the beginning of sorrows to our Lord Jesus. Now the sword of the Lord began to awake against the man that was his fellow; and how should it be quiet, when the Lord had given it a charge ? The clouds had been gathering a good while, and looked black. He had said, some days before, “ Now is my soul troubled.” John xii. 27. But now the storm began in good earnest. He put himself into this agony before his enemies gave him any trouble, to show that he was a free-will offering—that his life was not forced from him, but he laid it down of himself. John x. 18.
Then cometh, &c., ver. 36. After the institution of the supper, in the early part of the night, he went out to the mount of Olives. In his journey he passed over the brook Cedron (John xviii. 1), which bounded Jerusalem on the east. To a place. John calls this “a garden." This garden was on the western side of the mount of Olives, a short distance from Jerusalem, and commanding a full view of the city. The word “ garden,” here means a place planted with the olive and other trees, perhaps with a fountain of water, and with walks and groves ; a proper place of refreshment in a hot climate, and of retirement from the noise of the adjacent city. Such places were doubtless common in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Messrs Fisk and King, American missionaries, were there in 1823. They tell us, that the garden is about a stone's cast from the brook of Cedron ; that it now contains eight large and venerable-looking olives, whose trunks show their great antiquity.
The spot is sandy and barren, and appears like a forsaken place. A low broken wall surrounds it. Mr King sat down beneath one of the trees, and read Isa. liii., and also the gospel history of our Redeemer's sorrow during that memorable night in which he was there betrayed ; and the interest of the association was heightened by the passing through the place of a party of Bedouins, armed with spears and swords. Jesus, in the silence of the night, free from interruption, made it a place of retirement and prayer.
In the Gospel according to Luke it is said, he went, “ as he was wont” (that is, accustomed), to the mount of Olives. Probably he had been in the habit of retiring from Jerusalem to that place for meditation and prayer; thus enforcing by his example what he had so often done by his precepts—the duty of retiring from the noise and bustle of the world to hold communion with God. Gethsemane. This word is made up either of two Hebrew words, signifying valley of fatnessthat is, a fertile valley; or of two words, signifying an olive press-given to it, probably, because the place was filled with olives. While I go and pray yonder. That is, at the distance of a stone's cast. Luke xxii. 41. Luke adds, that when he came to the garden he charged them to pray that they might not enter into temptation ; that is, into deep trials and afflictions,—or, more probably, into scenes and dangers that would tempt them to deny him.
And he took with him Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee, ver. 37. That is, James and John. Matt. x. 2. On two other occasions he had favoured these disciples in a particular manner-suffering them to go with him to witness his power and glory, viz., at the healing of the ruler's daughter (Luke viii. 51); and at his transfiguration on the mount. Matt. xvii. 1.
And he began to be sorrowful, and very heary. It was not any bodily pain or torment that he was in—nothing occurred to hurt him; but whatever it was, it was from within-he troubled himself. John xi. 33. The words here used are very emphatical—He began to be sorrowful, and in a consternation. The latter word signifies such a sorrow as makes a man neither fit for company nor desirous of it. He had like a weight of lead upon his spirits. Now was fulfilled Psal. xxii. 14, “ I am poured out like water, my heart is like wax, it is melted;" and all those passages in the Psalms where David complains of the sorrows of his soul. Psal. xviii. 4, 5, xlii. 7, lv. 4, 5, lxix. 1-3, lxxxviii. 3, cxvi. 3.
And he went a little farther, &c, ver. 39. Prayer is never out of season, but it is especially seasonable in an agony.
He went a little farther, withdrew from them, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “ I have trod the wine-press alone.” He retired for prayer; a troubled soul finds niost ease when it is alone with God, who understands the broken language of sighs and groans. Calvin's devout reinark
upon this is worth transcribing :-“ It is useful to pray apart; for then the faithful soul developes itself more familiarly, and with greater simplicity pours forth its petitions, groans, cares, fears, hopes, and joys, into the bosom of God." Christ has hereby taught us that secret prayer must be made secretly. He fell on his face. His lying prostrate denotes the agony
he was in, and the extremity of his sorrow. "Job, in great grief, fell on the ground; and great anguish is expressed by rolling in the dust. Mic. i. 10. This posture was also an expression of bis reverential fear (spoken of Heb. v. 7), with which he offered up these prayers : and it was in the days of his flesh, in his estate of humiliation, to which hereby he accommodated himself. The prayer itself; wherein we may observe three things. 1. The title he gives to God,–O my Father. Thick as the cloud was, he could see God as a Father through it. 2. The favour he begs,— If it be possible, let this cup pass from me. He calls his sufferings a cup; not a river, not a sea, but a cup, which we shall soon see the bottom of. When we are under troubles, we should make the best, the least, of them, and not aggravate them. His sufferings might be called a cup, because allotted bim, as at feasts a cup was set to every mess. He begs that this cup might pass from him; that is, that he might avoid the sufferings now at hand; or, at least, that they might be shortened. This intimates no more than that he was really and truly man ; and as a man he could not but be averse to pain and suffering. This is the first and simple act of man's will—to start back from that which is sensibly grievous to us, and to desire the prevention and removal of it. The law of self-preservation is impressed upon the innocent nature of man, and rules there till overruled by some other law; therefore Christ admitted and expressed a reluctance to suffer, to show that he was taken from among men (Heb. v. 1), was touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Heb. iv. 15), and tempted as we are, yet without sin. 3. His entire submission to, and acquiescence in, the will of God, Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. Not that the human will of Christ was adverse or averse to the divine will; it was only in its first act diverse from it-to which, in the second act of the will, which compares and chooses, he freely submits himself. Our Lord Jesus, though he had a quick sense of the extreme bitterness of the sufferings he was to undergo, yet was freely willing to submit to them for our redemption and salvation, and offered himself, and gave himself, for us. The reason of Christ's submission to his sufferings was, his father's will-as thou wilt, ver. 39. He grounds his own willingness upon the Father's will
, and resolves the matter wholly into that; therefore he did what he did, and did it with delight–because it was the will of God. Psal. xl. 8. In conformity to this example of Christ, we must drink of the bitter cup which God puts into our hands, be it ever so bitter ; though nature struggle, grace must submit. We then are disposed as Christ was, when our wills are in every thing melted into the will of God, though ever so displeasing to flesh and blood. The will of the Lord be done. Acts xxi. 14.
But what answer had he to this prayer ? Certainly it was not made in vain; he that heard him always, did not deny him now. It is true, the cup did not pass from him, for he withdrew that petition, and did not insist upon it (if he had, for aught I know, the cup had passed away); but he had an answer to his prayer; for,-1. He was strengthened with strength in his soul, in the day when he cried (Psal. cxxxviii. 3); and that was a real answer. Luke xxii. 43. 2. He was delivered from that which he feared ; which was, lest by impatience and distrust, he should offend his Father, and so disable himself to go on with his undertaking. Heb. v. 7. In answer to his prayer, God provided that he should not fail or be discouraged.
Whilst Christ was in his agony, sorrowful and heavy-sweating, and wrestling, and praying. The disciples could not keep awake; he comes and finds them asleep, ver. 40. It may seem remarkable, that in such circumstances, with a suffering, pleading Redeemer near, surrounded by danger, and having received a special charge to watch, they should so soon have fallen asleep. It is frequently supposed that this was proof of wonderful stupidity, and indifference to their Lord's sufferings. The truth is, however, that it was just the reverse; it was proof of their great attachment, and their deep sympathy in his sorrows. Luke has added that “ he found them sleeping for sorrow' ;” that is, on account of their sorrow—their grief was so great, that they naturally fell asleep. Multitudes of facts might be brought to show that this is in accordance with the regular effects of grief. Dr Rush says, * There is another symptom of grief, which is not often noticed, and that is, profound sleep. I have often witnessed it even in mothers, immediately after the death of a child. Criminals, we are told by Mr Akerman, the keeper of Newgate in London, often sleep soundly the night before their execution. The son of general Custine slept nine hours the night before he was led to the guillotine in Paris.” Saith unto Peter, &c. This reproof was administered to Peter particularly, on account of his warm professions, his rash zeal, and his self-confidence. If he could not keep awake and watch with the Saviour for one hour, how little probability was there that he would adhere to him in all the trials through which he was soon to pass! Watch and
that ye enter not into temptation, ver. 41. There was an hour of temptation drawing on, and very near. The troubles of Christ were temptations to his followers to disbelieve a nd distrust him, to deny and desert him, and renounce all relation to him. He therefore exhorts them to watch and
pray. “ Watch with me, and pray with me.” While they were sleeping, they lost the benefit of joining in Christ's prayer. “ Watch yourselves, and pray yourselves; watch and p ray against the further temptation you may be assaulted with.” When we find ourselves entering into temptation, we have need to watch and pray.
He went away again the second time, &c., vers. 42–44. It is probable that our Lord spent considerable time in prayer, and that the evangelists have recorded rather the substance of his petitions than the very words. He returned repeatedly to his disciples ; doubtless to caution them against danger, to show the deep interest which he had in their welfare, and to show them the extent of his sufferings on their behalf. Each time that he returned these sorrows deepened. Again he sought the place of prayer, and as his approaching sufferings overwhelmed him, this was the burden of his prayer, and he prayed the same words. Luke adds, that amidst his agonies, an angel appeared from heaven, strengthening him. His human nature began to sink, as unequal to his sufferings, and a messenger from heaven appeared, to support him in these heavy trials. It may seem strange, that since Jesus was divine (John i. 1), the divine nature did not minister strength to the human, and that he that was God, should receive strength from an angel. But it should be remembered, that Jesus came in his human nature, not only to make an atonement, but to be a perfect example of a holy man; that as such, it was necessary to submit to the common conditions of humanity; that he should live as other men, be sustained as other men, suffer as other men, and be strengthened as other men; that he should, so to speak, take no advantage in favour of his piety, from his divinity, but subunit in all things to the common lot of pious men. Hence he supplied his wants, not by his being divine, but in the ordinary way of human life; hence he preserved himself from danger, not as God, but by seeking the usual ways of human prudence and precaution ; hence he met trials as a man, he received comfort as a man: and there is no absurdity in supposing, that, in accordance with the condition of his people, his human nature should be strengthened as they are, by those who are sent forth to be ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation. Heb. i. 14.
Luke farther adds (xxii. 4), that, “ being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” The word agony is taken from the anxiety, fear, etfort, and strong emotion, of the wrestlers in the Greek games, about to engage in a mighty struggle. Here it denotes the extreme anguish of mind—the strong conflict produced