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These sacramental signs were ordained by God in gracious condescension to our infirmities, to inform our understanding, to refresh our memories, and to excite our affections. Their efficacy is not owing to any power in themselves, but to the blessing of Christ?. We are not, therefore, to doubt but that, in the right use of the outward means, He will, by the power of his Spirit, though in a manner unknown to us, convey and confirm in Baptism, and convey and confirm in the Lord's Supper, to the worthy receivers, the divine grace signified thereby.
The Lord's Supper is so called, because the Jewish custom of eating bread and drinking wine, at the conclusion of the Paschal Supper, was by our Lord converted into the sacrament of his most precious body and blood".
The Church teaches us, that the outward part or sign of the Lord's Supper is bread and wine, which the Lord has commanded to be received. Though it is our duty to rest satisfied in our Lord's will and pleasure, without seeking after a reason for his appointments, we cannot but observe, that, as our spiritual purification is appositely represented by water in the other sacrament, so is our spiritual sustenance by bread and wine in
2 So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth ; but God that giveth the increase. 1 Cor. iii. 7.
3 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. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you. Like xxii. 19, 20.
this. This sacrament is commanded to be administered in both kinds 4.
The Church likewise informs us, that the inward part, or thing signified, is the body and blood of Christ. God did not only give his Son Jesus Christ to die for us, but also to be our spiritual food and sustenance in this holy sacrament; and if we receive it with a true penitent heart and lively faith, we do spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood : we partake of all those blessings which He purchased by the offering of his body and blood; we are nourished and preserved to everlasting life.
The Church assures us, that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was ordained for the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ, and of the benefits which we receive thereby. This memorial of Christ's death is to be a standing service in his Church, so long as it continues militant on earth. Christ did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of his precious death and sacrifice, until his coming again. His death is called a sacrifice; because our heavenly Father, of his tender mercy, gave his only Son Jesus Christ, to suffer
4 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ ? 1 Cor. x. 16. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and
gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it. Matt. xxvi. 26, 27.
5 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. 1 Cor. xi. 26.
death upon the cross for our redemption ; who made there (by his one oblation of Himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world'. By this sacrifice we receive the remission of our sins, and are made partakers of the kingdom of heaven?. And as the Son of God did vouchsafe to yield up his soul by death upon the cross for our salvation, so it is the duty of all Christians frequently to receive the Communion, in remembrance of the sacrifice of his death, as He Himself has commanded ®.
The eucharist is considered by some as not only a sacrament, in which, under the symbols of bread and wine, according to the institution of Christ, the faithful truly and spiritually receive the body and blood of Christ, but also a sacrifice, commemorative of the original sacrifice and death of Christ for our deliverance from sin and death : a memorial made before God, to plead with Him the meritorious sacrifice and death of his dear Son for the forgiveness of our sins, and all other benefits of Christ's passion. The eucharist being, as its name imports, a sacrifice of thanksgiving, the bread and wine, after they have been offered, or given to God, and blessed or sanctified by his Holy Spirit, are returned by the hand of his minister, to be eaten by the faithful, as a feast upon the sacrifice; both to denote their being at peace and in favour with God, being thus fed at his table, and eating of his food, and also to convey to the worthy receivers all the benefits and blessings of Christ's natural body and blood, which were offered and slain for their redemption '.
6 And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John ii. 2.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. Rom. v. 10.
8 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. often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. 1 Cor. xi. 25, 26.
The Church informs us, that the benefits whereof we are partakers in the Lord's Supper are the strengthening and refreshing of our souls by the
9 Some diversity of opinion exists on the subject of the eucharist being, in a strict and proper sense, a sacrifice. Considering the death of the victim as essential to a sacrifice, the term is improperly applied to the eucharist. In this ordinance there is no victim slain and offered. But if sacrifice be considered as synonymous with oblation, the holy eucharist may be esteemed a true and proper sacrifice. For the benediction of the bread and wine by onr Lord, we may reasonably conclude, was accompanied with the solemn oblation of them to his Almighty Father, as the memorial of his body that was to be broken, and his blood that was to be shed as a propitiation for the sins of the world. Accordingly, our Church, following primitive usage, makes an oblation of the consecrated bread and wine in the holy eucharist. *“We, thy humble servants, do celebrate and make here, before thy divine Majesty, with these thy holy gifts, which we now offer unto thee, the memorial thy Son hath commanded us to make." Either as a sacrifice or as an oblation, the end of this solemn presentation of the consecrated bread and wine to God is the same, to plead with Him, that,“ by the merits and death of his Son esus Christ, and through faith in his blood,” all the faithful members of his Church
“ obtain remission of their sins, and all other benefits of his passion."
* From the American Cominunion Office,-similar to that of the Scotch Church. ED.
body and blood of Christ, as our bodies are by the bread and wine. As bread and wine, considered only as natural food, strengthen and refresh our bodies, so this bread and wine, received as memorials of the body and blood of Christ our Master, tend to the improvement and health of our souls. In this ordinance our souls are strengthened by the most solemn exercise of faith ; by the most lively acts of gratitude and love ; and especially by the communication of supernatural grace Our souls are also refreshed by the comfortable assurance of God's favour and gracious goodness towards us?; that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of his Sons, which is the blessed company of all faithful people ; and also heirs through hope of his everlasting kingdom, by the merits of the most precious death and passion of his dear Son 4.
We are taught by the Church, that it is required of those who come to the Lord's Supper to examine themselves, whether they repent them truly of their former sins, stedfastly purposing to lead a new life, have a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of his death,
i He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. John vi.'56.
2 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ? Rom. viii. 32.
3 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Eph. v.30.
4 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 1 John v. 11.