From "The Key to Truth", by E. H. Lake, 1855
The Circumstances under which this ordinance was first observed are of an interesting character. The time of Christ's crucifixion was at hand; and the Master wishing to take an affectionate farewell of his disciples before his death, met in an upper chamber, and there, for the first time ate with his chosen ones, the sacramental supper. Taking the bread, blessed and brake it, and said, "Eat ye all of it, for this is my body broken for you, this do in remembrance of me. And likewise he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, said, "Drink ye all of it, for this is my blood shed for the remission of sins. This do in remembrance of me." From this we learn that the institution of the Lords Supper is purely commemorative.
It was designed to perpetuate in the mind of the believer a remembrance of the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, the broken bread represents his bruised body; in the wine we behold his flowing blood. As oft as the believer sits at the table of his Lord and partakes of these symbols, he commemorates the undying love of his Master. And what can so vividly call to mind the sufferings of our Lord as the celebration of the sacramental supper. Here, at the table on which are spread the emblems of a Saviours broken body and spilt blood, we are reminded of his untiring labors in our behalf, his quenchless love for sinners , his meekness and devotion to his Fathers will in every situation in life. Here, too, the world diminishes to its true size, and we are carried back to the judgment hall of Pilate; we witness the Saviour bearing his cross to the hill of Calvary and while witnessing the crucifixion scene, we hear a language from his throbbing temple, his pierced side, his bleeding hands and feet, that rolls back the whole tide of sinful feeling.
"When I Survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride."
Again, we see the wisdom of the Saviour in instituting the supper, by the use which is made of symbols. How sacredly we keep a ring, a lock of hair, a miniature, in memory of an absent or deceased friend. What vivid associations are awakened by looking upon the picture or the statue of Washington. What, then, must be our feelings when partaking of the emblems of a Saviours broken body and flowing blood? If gazing upon the Bunker Hill Monument, erected on Bunker Hill, reminds us of the sufferings of our forefathers, how much more do the emblems of the broken bread, the flowing wine call to mind the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ? Surely, then, the Lords Supper should be sacredly observed as a token, a memorial of his quenchless love for the world. This do in memory of your friend; for such was our Master's last request.
The advantages of partaking of the Lords Supper are obvious.
It is a compliance with the Saviours last request, "This do in remembrance of me." Who can refuse to comply with a request so reasonable?
The ordinance of the Lord's Supper is a memorial of the Saviours death, and an invincible proof of the truth of Christianity. Suppose we were to strike out of existence the history of our forefathers struggle or independence, who does not see so long as the 4th of July is celebrated, the birthday of our nation cannot be forgotten. So while we celebrate the Lords death, a remembrance of Christ and his religion will be fresh in the mind to stimulate the believer to renewed exertions in behalf of truth. Who, then, can feel no interest in the celebration of the Lords Supper? Again, a participation of this commemorative rite produces that frame of mind in which one would wish to die. Hence Jesus, after partaking of the supper, took an affectionate leave of his followers in these words: "I say unto you, I will not henceforth drink of the fruit of the vine until I drink it new with you in my Fathers kingdom above." Here two ideas are presented.
The separation of Christ from his chosen band; and
Their reunion in the Paradise of God, where their future communion would be perfect and complete.
Such, then are the sentiments inspired in the commemoration of a Saviour's spotless love. Who, then, can refuse to gather around the table of his dying Lord, in compliance with his request? "This do in remembrance of me." Whom shall we remember if not Christ, who toiled, suffered and died for our redemption?
"We, alas! Forget too often,
What a friend we have above."
The qualifications requisite to come to the Lord's table are,
Faith in Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world.
A Life corresponding with our profession. If a person believes in Christ, and desires to imitate his example as far as he can, he never should refuse to commemorate the death of our Lord. Come, then, to the table of our Master, and record his matchless love! Come with hearts overflowing with gratitude to God for the gift of his Son! Come and partake of the emblems of a Saviour's broken body and flowing blood! "For as oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death."
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