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The Institution of the Lord’s Supper

23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread,


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Hitherto he has been exposing the abuse; 667667     “Qu’ils commettoyent en la Cene;” — “Which they had fallen into as to the Supper.” now he proceeds to show what is the proper method of rectifying it. For the institution of Christ is a sure rule, so that if you turn aside from it but a very little, you are out of the right course. Hence, as the Corinthians had deviated from this rule, he calls them back to it. It is a passage that ought to be carefully observed, as showing that there is no remedy for correcting and purging out abuses, short of a return to God’s pure institution. Thus the Lord himself — when he was discoursing respecting marriage, (Matthew 19:3,) and the Scribes brought forward custom, and also the permission given by Moses — simply brings forward his Father’s institution, as being an inviolable law. When we do this at the present day, the Papists cry out, that we are leaving nothing untouched. 668668     “Que nous gastons tout, et ne laissons rien en son entier;” — “That we are destroying everything, and are leaving nothing entire.” We openly demonstrate, that it is not in one point merely that they have degenerated from our Lord’s first institution, but that they have corrupted it in a thousand ways. Nothing is more manifest than that their Mass is diametrically opposed to the sacred Supper of our Lord. I go farther — we show in the plainest manner, that it is full of wicked abominations: hence there is need of reformation. We demand — what it appears Paul had recourse to — that our Lord’s institution be the common rule, to which we agree on both sides to make our appeal. This they oppose with all their might. Mark then the nature of the controversy at this day in reference to the Lord’s Supper.

23 I received from the Lord. In these words he intimates, that there is no authority that is of any avail in the Church, but that of the Lord alone. “I have not delivered to you an invention of my own: I had not, when I came to you, contrived a new kind of Supper, according to my own humor, but have Christ as my authority, from whom I received what I have delivered unto you, in the way of handing it over.” 669669     Our Author seems to allude here to what he had said previously, when commenting on 1 Corinthians 4:1, as to the duty devolving on stewards of the mysteries of God. — Ed. Return, then, to the original source. Thus, bidding adieu to human laws, the authority of Christ will be maintained in its stability.

That night in which he was betrayed. This circumstance as to time instructs us as to the design of the sacrament — that the benefit of Christ’s death may be ratified in us. For the Lord might have some time previously committed to the Apostles this covenant-seal, 670670     “Car le Seigneur pouuoit bien quelque temps deuant ordonner a ses Apostres l’obseruation de ce Sacrement;” — “For the Lord might have on some previous occasion appointed to his Apostles the observance of this Sacrament.” but he waited until the time of his oblation, that the Apostles might see soon after accomplished in reality in his body, what he had represented to them in the bread and the wine Should any one infer from this, that the Supper ought, therefore, to be celebrated at night and after a bodily repast, I answer, that, in what our Lord did, we must consider what there is that he would have to be done by us. It is certain, that he did not mean to institute a kind of nightly festival, like that in honor of Ceres, 671671     “Vne ceremonie, qui ne peust faire que de nuit, comme les Payens auoyent la feste de Ceres;” — “A ceremony which could only be observed at night, as the heathens held the festival of Ceres.” The time when the festival was held, was in accordance with the peculiar secrecy with which its rites were observed. — Ed. and farther, that it was not his design to invite his people to come to this spiritual banquet with a well-filled stomach. Such actions of Christ as are not intended for our imitation, should not be reckoned as belonging to his institution. 672672     “Pour partie, ou de la substance de son institution;” — “As a part of his institution, or of the essence of it.” In this way, there is no difficulty in setting aside that subtilty of Papists, by which they shift off 673673     “Ils se mocquent;” — “They deride.” what I have already stated as to the duty of maintaining and preserving Christ’s institution in its simplicity. “We will, therefore,” say they, “not receive the Lord’s Supper except at night, and we will therefore take it — not when fasting, but after having dined.” All this, I say, is mere trifling; for it is easy to distinguish what our Lord did, in order that we might imitate it, or rather what he did with the view of commanding us to do the like.




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