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"Drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the New Testament (or New Covenant) which is shed for many, for the remission of sins;" his meaning was, that the wine in the cup was to be a representation of his blood that was shed upon the cross as an expiation and atonement for the sins of the whole world. And his disciples were to eat the bread and drink the wine so consecrated, and so appropriated to this particular purpose, in grateful remembrance of what our Lord suffered for their salvation, and that of all mankind; for St. Luke adds these affecting and impressive words of our Saviour, this do in remembrance of me.

The Lord's supper therefore was evidently to be a solemn commemoration and recognition of the redemption and deliverance of mankind by the death of Christ, as the feast of the passover was of the deliverance of the Israelites from the destroying angel. Nor is this all; for as the Jews, were accustomed in their peace offerings to eat a part of the victim, and thus partook of the sacrifice; so they would perceive that in this new institution, the eating of the bread and drinking of the wine was a mark and symbol of their participating in the effects of this new peace offering, the death of Christ; whose body was broken, and whose blood was shed for them on the cross.

They would also see that this supper of our Lord was from that time to be substituted in the room of the passover; and that they might have no doubt on this head, our Lord expressly declares that this was to be the case; for immediately after the institution of this sacrament he adds, "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." The meaning is, this is the last time that this supper shall be a representation of the passover. It shall hereafter take a new signification. When my kingdom (that is, my religion) is fully confirmed and established by my rising from the dead, this supper shall be the memorial of a more noble sacrifice. The passover, which was a type of the redemption to be wrought by me, shall be fulfilled and completed by my death and resurrection. The shadow passes away; the substance takes place; and when you eat this supper in rememberance of me, there will I be virtually present amongst you; and your souls shall be nourished and refreshed by my grace, as your bodies are by the bread and wine.

You will perceive, by what I have here said on the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, that I have confined myself to that which was immediately before me, the original institution of it by our blessed Lord. I have not entered into those further

illustrations of this holy rite, which are presented to us in other parts of scripture; particularly in the 11th chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. To go at length into the consideration of this important subject, would lead me into a much longer discussion than the nature of this discourse will admit. I shall therefore only observe further, that whoever reads with attention this first institution of the Lord's Supper, whoever reflects that it was the very last meal that our Lord ate with his disciples, that the next day he underwent for our sakes a most excruciating and ignominious death, and that he requires us to receive this sacrament in remembrance of him; whoever, I say, can, notwithstanding all this, disobey the last command of his dying Redeemer, must be destitute, not only of all the devout sentiments of a Christian, but of all the honest feelings

a man.

After having thus kept the passover for the last time, our Lord and his apostles sung a hymn, as was usual with the Jews after their repasts; and the hymn they sung on this occasion was probably what they called the Paschal Psalms, from the 113th to the 118th, in which the disciples, accustomed to that recital, readily joined. They then went out into the mount of Olives; and as they were going, Jesus saith unto them, "All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee." This was a prophetic warning to the disciples, that they would all be terrified by the dangers that awaited him, and would desert and virtually renounce him that very night. The words here quoted, "I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad," are from the thirteenth chapter of Zechariah. But to console and support them under this trial, our Lord assures them that he would rise again from the dead, and after his resurrection he would meet them at a certain place he appointed in Galilee. The apostles, as we may easily imagine, were greatly hurt at this admonitory prediction of our Lord, and protested that they would never forsake him. But St. Peter more particularly, who, from the ardour of his disposition, was always more forward in his professions, and more indignant at the slightest reflection on his character, than any of the rest, immediately cried out with warmth and eagerness, "Though all men should be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended." But Jesus, who knew him much better than he did himself, said unto him, " Verily I say unto you, that this night before the cock crow (that is, before three in the morning) thou shalt

deny me thrice." Peter, still confident of his own integrity and sincere attachment to his divine Master, and ignorant of the weakness of human nature at the approach of danger, replied, with still greater vehemence, "Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee," and the rest of the disciples joined with him in these earnest protestations of inviolable fidelity. How far they were verified by the event we shall soon see.

We are now arrived at a very awful and somewhat mysterious part of our Saviour's history, his agony in the garden, which is next related to us by St. Matthew.

"Then cometh Jesus," says the evangelist, "with them to a place called Gethsemane, a rich valley near the mount of Olives, through which ran the brook Cedron, and on this side was a garden, into which Jesus entered. And he said unto his disciples, Sit ye here (at the entrance probably of the garden) while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him, into a more retired part of the garden, Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee, James and John, the very same disciples who accompanied him at his transfiguration; that they who had been witnesses of his glory might be witnesses also of his humiliation and affliction. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible (that is, if it be possible for man to be saved, and thy glory promoted as effectually in any other way as by my death) let this cup, this bitter cup of affliction, pass from me; nevertheless, not as I, will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? you who so lately made such vehement professions of attachment to me! Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." Ye have need to watch and pray for your own sakes, as well as mine, that you may not be overcome by the severe trials that await you, nor be tempted to desert me. Yet at the same moment, feeling for the infirmity of human nature, he adds, "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." That is, I know your hearts are right, and your intentions good; but the weakness of your frail nature overpowers your best resolutions, "and the thing which ye would ye do not. "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. And he came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third

time, saying the same words. 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. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me." That is, henceforth, hereafter (for so the original strictly means) you may take your rest; your watching can be of no further use to me: my trial is over, my agony is subdued, and my destiny determined. I shall soon be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise, therefore, let us go and meet this danger. Behold, he that betrayeth me is at hand.

This is the account given us of what is called our Saviour's agony in the garden; in the nature and circumstances of which there is certainly something "difficult to be understood;" but it is at the same time pregnant with instruction and consolation to every disciple of Christ.

We may observe in the first place, that the terror and distress of our Lord's mind on this occasion seems to have been extreme, and the agony he endured in the highest degree poignant and acute. He is said here to be "exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." St. Mark adds, that he was "sore amazed and very heavy;"* and St. Luke tells us, that " being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." To what cause could these uncommonly painful sensations be owing? There is great reason to believe that they could not arise solely from the fear of death, or of the torments and the ignominy he was about to undergo; for many great and good men, many of the primitive martyrs for instance, and of our first reformers, have met death and tortures without feeling, at least without expressing, such excessive terrors of mind as these.

But it should be considered, that besides the apprehensions of a death, in the highest degree excruciating and disgraceful, to which in his human nature he would be as liable as any other person, there were several circumstances peculiar to himself, which might exceedingly embitter his feelings and exasperate his sufferings.

In the first place, from the foreknowledge of every thing that could befal him, he would have a quicker sense and a keener perception of the torments he was to undergo, than any other person could possibly have, from the anticipation of future sufferings.

In the next place, the complicated miseries which he knew

* Ch. xiv. 33.

+ Ch. xxii. 44.

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that his death would bring upon his country, for which he manifested the tenderest concern; the distress in which it would plunge a mother and a friend that were infinitely dear to him and the cruel persecutions and afflictions of various kinds, to which he foresaw that the first propagation of his religion would expose his beloved disciples; all these considerations operating on a mind of such exquisite sensibility as his, must make a deep and painful impression, and add inany a bitter pang to the anguish which preyed upon his soul. Nor is it at all improbable, that his great enemy and ours, the prince of darkness, whom he came to overthrow, and with whom he maintained a constant conflict through life, and triumphed over by his death; it is not, I say, at all improbable, that this malignant Being should exert his utmost power, by presenting real, and raising up imaginary terrors, to shake the constancy of his soul, and deter him from the great work he had undertaken. These, and a multitude of other agonizing distresses, unknown and inconceivable to us, which might necessarily spring from so vast, so momentous, so stupendous a work, as the salvation of a whole world, make a plain distinction between our Saviour's situation and that of any other martyr to the cause of truth, and most clearly prove that there never was a sorrow in every respect like unto his sorrow."* It is evident, indeed, that there was some other cause of his agony besides that of his approaching death: for it is said in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that he was heard in that he feared;† that is, was delivered from the terrors that oppressed him; and yet we know he was not delivered from the death of the cross. And it should be observed in the last place, that notwithstanding his temporary agonies of mind, notwithstanding he was sore amazed and exceeding sorrowful, even unto death ;" notwithstanding he prayed most earnestly and fervently "that the bitter cup of affliction might, if possible, pass away from him;" yet, upon the final result, he manifested the utmost firmness and fortitude of soul: and the constant termination of his prayer was, not my will but thine be done. He submitted with the most perfect resignation to those very calamities which he felt so acutely, and deprecated so earnestly; and went out from the garden to meet the dangers that approached him with that noble and dignified address to his slumbering disciples, "Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. It is evident, then, that this remarkable incident in the history of our Lord, which has given occasion to + Heb. v. 7.



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* Lam. i. 12.

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