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and we, are we better than they? Alas! both Jews and Gentiles, all are included under sin. Still are there some who crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. That which was once the act of bloody hands, is still the crime of stony hearts. What is it but crime, when those who, by their own confession, are persuaded of the fact, and even desirous of the benefit, listen without obedience, and, perhaps, even without emotion, to the most tender and touching words, which command them to do this in remembrance of him— which remind them that "Jesus, the same night in which he was, betrayed, took bread."
2. From the dignity, then, of him who instituted this sacred ordinance, which alone, under any circumstances, both demands and should enforce a reverential obedience from all who bear the Christian name, we pass to consider the TIME of its institution-" the same night in which he was betrayed." This was the hour in which the cup of agony was about to overflow, and, consequently, when the love which led the Saviour to drain it on behalf of sinners, was about to shine most brightly. This
was the hour in which the Scripture must needs be fulfilled, wherein it is said, "He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me." It was necessary; necessary for the fulfilment of the Divine prophecy, for the perfection of his own work, that Christ should suffer, and should suffer thus. O! who can tell up the aggregate of suffering which is accumulated in that single word BETRAYED! Perfect Man as well as perfect God; possessing, in all the potency as well as purity of their original creation, the most tender sympathies, the most acute sensibilities, the most lively and powerful affections of the human heart; who shall say what large drops of bitterness may have been wrung even into the cup of Christ, by the falsehood of one whom he loved, if he did not trust; one with whom he tabernacled for years; who ate of his bread and drank of his cup, and dwelt in his bosom; but who was daily verging towards that fearful crisis of treachery and ruin which Jesus foreknew, and yet did not, or, as we may suppose for some inscrutable reason, could not avert. He foreknew it, for Jesus knew from the beginning," says the Evangelist, "who they
were that believed not, and who should betray him." He could not avert it, for "how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it MUST be?" But how can our minds be expanded to the vast and mysterious conception of a Being, who, at one and the same time, knew as GOD and felt as Man? How can we calculate what would be the depth and breadth of our own utter wretchedness, if we, like Jesus, needed none to testify to us what was in man; if we saw the dark design, which had our own ruin for its object, brooding, hatching, advancing, maturing in the mind of a familiar friend, whose face was all smiles, whose manner all sweetness, and whose words all love; if we knew that all were but the wiles of a traitor, the blandishments of a hypocrite, the fawnings of a murderer, the cloak of an apostate; if we saw and knew all this, and yet were restrained by an overmastering necessity, from the expression of our abhorrence, from the venting of our complaint, nay, from the utterance of that pointed and pungent expostulation, which, showing the deceiver that we were acquainted with his designs, might haply win upon him to forsake them. But Jesus,
who foreknew the crime, foresaw the consequence; he warmed the viper in his bosom, knowing that it must inflict the mortal sting; and now that it was coiled erect, now that the venom of demoniac malignity (for Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve) had been inflamed to the utmost, he resigns himself, with perfect and godlike submission, to the blow-the Scriptures MUST be fulfilled. Could the treason have been avoided, it had never been foretold; but thus it must be. Let us, therefore, infer the dignity of this ordinance from the very time of its institution. In the very night when he was betrayed; when the wickedness of man, mingling with the malevolence of Satan, were pouring forth their blackest flood; when the treason of one whom he had favoured, trusted, loved, was opening upon a scene of suffering, of which we know at least thus much, that earth trembled to bear it on her bosom, and the sun refused to behold it with his light, and Jesus, who had till then endured in silence, groaned aloud, while agony of spirit bathed his brow in dews of blood, and gasped out the intolerable anguish of his soul in the
exceeding great and bitter cry, "My God! my GOD! why hast THOU forsaken me?" —in that very night it was, as if to demonstrate the triumphant energy of love divine over all the sensibilities and all the infirmities of the frail human nature which he had condescended to assume for us, that "Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise after supper he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them saying, Drink ye all of this; for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many, for the remission of sins. Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me."
II. Such, then, is the first proof and evidence of the dignity of this holy mystery, as arising from the circumstances of its primary institution; we are now to seek a second in the obligation to its general observance. We infer this from the reason assigned by Jesus for enjoining the partaking of the bread, "This do in remembrance of me;" a reason which bears equally upon all; for who, in the hour of trial and