Sidor som bilder

But there was a much higher purpose to which the effusion of ointment on the head was applied to the Jews. It was by this ceremony that Kings, Priests, and Prophets, were set apart and consecrated to their respective offices. And for this reason it was that our blessed Lord himself, who united in his own person the threefold character of King, Priest, and Prophet, was distinguished by the name of the MEss IAH, which in the Hebrew language, means THE ANo INTED. It was therefore with peculiar propriety that this discriminating mark of respect was shown to Jesus by the devout woman here mentioned, though she herself was probably altogether unconscious of that propriety. Jesus however saw at once the piety of her heart, and the purity of her intentions, and with that sweetness of temper and urbanity of manners which were natural to him, not only accepted her humble offering with complacency, but generously defended her against the illiberal cavils of his fastidious followers. And then he added a promise



of that distinguished honour which should perpetuate this meritorious act of hers to all future ages: “Verily I say unto you, that wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this that this woman hath done be told for a memorial of her.” This we know was no vain prediction; it has been most literally and punctually fulfilled, and we ourselves are witnesses of its completion at this very moment. The next remarkable occurrence in this chapter is the institution of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper by our Saviour, when he was eating the Passover with his disciples. The Passover was one of the -most solemn and sacred feasts of the Jews. It was so called because it was established in commemoration of the deliverance of the Jews from their bondage in Egypt, at which time the destroying angel, when he put to death the first-born of the Egyptians, passed over the houses of the Israelites, which were all marked with the blood of the

the lamb that had been killed and eaten the evening before in every Hebrew house, and

was therefore called the Paschal Lamb. This great festival our Saviour observed with his disciples the evening before he suffered, and with them ate the paschal lamb, which was a prophetic type of himself. For he was the real paschal lamb that was sacrificed for the sins of men. He was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world *; the lamb without blemish and without spot +, as the paschal lamb was ordered to be t. There can be no doubt, therefore, that the paschal lamb of the Jews was meant to be an emblem of our Lord. The slaying of that lamb prefigured the slaying of Christ upon the cross; and as those houses which were sprinkled with the blood of the lamb were passed over by the destroying angel, so they whose souls are sprinkled with the blood of Christ are saved from destruction, and their sins passed over and forgiven for his

* Rev. xiii. 8. + 1 Pet. i. 19. f Ex. xii. 5.

his sake. And it is a very remarkable circumstance, that our Saviour was crucified, and our deliverance from the bondage of sin completed, in the same month, and on the same day of the month, that the Israelites were delivered from the bondage of Egypt, by their departure from that land. For the Israelites went out of Egypt, and Christ was put to death, on the fifteenth

day of the month Nisan. I have premised thus much respecting the passover and the paschal lamb, because it will throw considerable light on the true nature and meaning of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, which Jesus now instituted, and of which the evangelist gives the following account: “When the even was come, our Lord sat down with the twelve to eat the passover; and as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to his 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; for this is my blood of the New Testament,

Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” This is the whole of the institution of the sacred rite by our blessed Lord, as recorded in St. Matthew's Gospel; and nothing can be more evident than that when he brake the bread, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat, this is my body;" he meant to say that the bread was to represent his body, and the breaking of it was to represent the breaking of his body upon the cross. In the same manner when he took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “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


« FöregåendeFortsätt »