An Exercise of Faith
Beloved Lord Jesus, to Thee is the desire of my soul. Thou art He in whom the love of the Father is disclosed to me. Thou art He who hast loved me even unto death on earth, and still lovest me in Thy glory on high. Thou art He in whom alone my soul has its life. Beloved Lord Jesus, my soul cleaves hard to Thee. On this holy morning I will prepare myself to go to the table by exercising and confessing anew my faith in Thee. My Saviour, do Thou Thyself come into me: my faith can only be the fruit of what Thou givest me to know of Thyself.
My Saviour, I come to Thee this morning, as aforetime, with the confession that there is nothing in myself on which I can lean. All my experiences confirm to me what Thou hast said of my corruption: that in me, that is, in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing. And yet I come to Thee to lay my claim before Thee, to let it prevail with Thee, and to take Thee as mine own. O, my Lord, my claim rests on the word of my Father, that He has given His Son for sinners, that Thou didst die for the ungodly. My sinfulness is my claim upon Thee: Thou art for sinners. My claim is God’s eternal righteousness: the Surety has paid; the guilty must go free. My claim rests on Thy love: Thou hast compassion on the wretched. My claim is Thy faithfulness: O, my Saviour, I have given myself to Thee and Thou hast received me, and what Thou hast begun in me, Thou wilt gloriously complete. That which has passed betwixt Thee and me gives me increased courage; and now I come to take Thee as mine, and enjoy Thee, with all Thou art and hast. Blessed Lord, unveil Thyself to me, in order that my faith may be truly strong and joyful.
Yes: Lord Jesus, Thou art mine: with all Thy fulness Thou art mine. God be praised, I can say this: Thy blood is mine: it has atoned for all, yea all, my sins. Thy righteousness is mine; yea, Thou Thyself art my righteousness, and makest me altogether acceptable to the Father. Thy love is mine: yea, in all its height and depth and length and breadth is Thy love mine, O Jesus: it is the habitation in which I abide, the very air I breathe. And all that Thou hast is mine. Thy wisdom is mine; Thy strength is mine; Thy holiness is mine; Thy life is mine; Thy glory is mine; Thy Father is mine. Beloved Lord Jesus, my soul has only one desire this day: that Thou, my Almighty Friend, wouldst make me with a silent but very powerful activity of faith to behold Thee, and inwardly appropriate Thee as my possession. Lord Jesus, in the simplicity of a faith that depends only on Thee, I say: God be praised, Jesus with all His fulness is mine. How little do I yet thoroughly know or enjoy this truth: Jesus with all His fulness is mine.
Help me now, Lord, to go to Thy table in the blessed expectation of new communications out of the treasures of Thy love. Let my faith be not only strong, but large: may it cause me to open my mouth wide.
I have so much of which I stand in need today. But what I need above all is this: that I may know my Lord as the daily food of my soul, and that I may comprehend how He will every day be my strength and my life. My desire is that I may understand that not only at the Lord’s Supper, but every hour of my life on earth, my Lord Jesus is willing to take the responsibility of my life, to be my life, and to live His life in me. O Jesus, do enable me to grasp this truth today.
Beloved Lord, I believe that Thou hast the power to work this in me. I know that Thy love is waiting for me, and will take great delight in doing this for me. I believe, Lord, and Thou wilt come to help my unbelief. Yea, although I do not as yet thoroughly understand it, I will believe that my Jesus will this day communicate Himself anew to me as my life, and wilt give me, through the operation of His Holy Spirit, a larger participation of His heavenly life which He lives on high. I will believe that what He this day does, He will every day henceforth confirm. Yea, my precious Saviour, I will this day betake me with all my misery, and make myself over to Thee to dwell in me. And I will believe that Thou, because Thou art wholly my possession, wilt make myself ready and come in and take possession of me, and fill me with Thyself. Lord, I believe: increase this faith within me.
And now, Lord, prepare me and all Thy congregation for a blessed observance of the Supper. Now, unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Take, eat; this is My body which is given for you.” Matthew 26:26; Luke 22:19.
When the Lord says this, He points out to us that His body is not so much His as it is ours, since He received it and suffered it to be broken on the cross, not for His own sake, but for ours; and that He now also desires that we should look upon it and appropriate it as our own possession. Thus, with His body, He gives Himself to us, and desires that we should take Him. The fellowship of the Lord’s Supper is a fellowship of giving and taking. Blessed giving: blessed taking.
Blessed giving: the person gives value to the gift. Who is He that gives? It is my Creator, who comes here to give what my soul needs. It is my Redeemer, who, at the table, will give to me in possession what He has purchased for me.
And what gives He? His body and His blood. He gives the greatest and the best He can bestow: yea, all that it is possible for Him to givethe broken body which He first offered to the Father as a sacrifice for sin, a sacrifice that filled Him with joy. And what He offered to the Father, to put away sin before Him, He now offers to me, to put away sin in me.
And wherefore gives He this? Because He loves me. He desires to redeem me from death, and to bestow on me eternal life in Himself. He gives Himself to me to be the food, the joy, the living power of my soul. O blessed, Heavenly giving of eternal love! Jesus gives me His own body: Jesus gives me Himself.
And not less blessed taking, for it is so simple. Just as I receive with my hand the bread that is intended for me, and hold it before me as my own, so by faith in the word, in which Jesus gives Himself to me, I take Him for myself, and I know that He is really mine. The body in which He suffered for sin is my possession: the power of His atonement is mine. The body of Jesus is my food and my life.
And how free is the taking. I think of my unworthiness, only to find in it my claim on Him, the Righteous One, who died for the unrighteous. I think of my misery only as the poverty and the hunger for which the festal repast is prepared, this divine bread so cordially given. What Jesus in His love would give so heartily and willingly, I will as heartily and freely take.
And so real is the taking. Where God gives, there is power and life. In giving, there is a communication, a real participation of that which is bestowed. Consequently, my taking does not depend on my strength: I have only to receive what my Saviour brings to me and inwardly imparts. I, a mere worm, take what He, the Almighty, gives. Blessed giving, blessed taking.
Blessed God, may my taking be in conformity with Thy giving; Thy giving, the standard and the measure of my taking. What God gives, I take as a whole. As Thou givest, so I also receive, heartily, undividedly, lovingly. Precious Saviour, my taking depends wholly on Thy giving.
Come Thou and give: give Thyself truly and with power in the communion of the Spirit. Come, my eternal Redeemer, and let Thy love delight itself and be satisfied in me, whilst Thou dost unfold to me the divine secret of the word: My body given for you. Yea, Lord, I wait upon Thee. What thou givest me as my share in Thy broken body, that will I take and eat. And my soul shall go hence, joyful and strengthened, to thank Thee and to serve Thee. Amen.
In Remembrance of Me
Do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19
Do this in remembrance of me.” Is this injunction, then, really necessary? Can it be possible that I should forget Jesus?
Forget Jesus! Jesus, who thought of me in eternity; who, indeed, forgot His own sorrows on the Cross, but never forgets mine; who says to me that a mother will sooner forget her sucking child than He in heaven will forget me. Can I forget Jesus? Jesus, my Sun, my Surety, my Bridegroom; my Jesus, without whose love I cannot live: can I ever forget Jesus?
Ah, me! how often have I forgotten Jesus. How frequently has my foolish heart grieved Him and prepared all manner of sorrow for itself by forgetting Jesus. At one time it was in the hour of care, or sin, or grief, at another in prosperity and joy, that I suffered myself to be led astray. O my soul, be deeply ashamed that Thou shouldst ever forget Jesus.
And Jesus will not be forgotten. He will see to it that this shall not take place for His own sake. He loves us so dearly that He sets great store by our love, and cannot endure to be forgotten. Our love is to Him His happiness and joy: He requires it from us with a holy strictness: He cannot endure to be forgotten. So truly has the eternal Love chosen us that it longs to live in our remembrance every day.
For our sakes also He will see to it that He is not forgotten. By the memory, through this kind of remembrance, the past becomes the present in perspective. Jesus always yearns to be with us and beside us, that He may make us taste of His crucified love and the power of His heavenly life. Jesus wills that we should always remember Him.
How I long never more to forget Jesus. Thank God, Jesus will so give Himself to me at the table that He shall become to me one never to be forgotten. At the table He will overshadow and satisfy me with His love. He will make His love to me so glorious that my love shall always hold Him in remembrance. What is more, He will so unite Himself with me, will so give His life in me, that out of the power of His own indwelling in me it will not be possible for me to forget Him. I have too much considered it a duty and a work to remember Jesus. Lord Jesus, so fill me with Thy joy that it will be an impossibility for me not to remember Thee.
Jesus remembers me with such a tender love that He desires and will grant that the remembrance of Him shall always live in me. It is for this end that He gives me the new remembrance of His love in the Lord’s Supper. I will draw near to it in this joyful assurance: Jesus will there teach me to remember Him always.
My Lord, how wonderful is this Thy love: that it should be a matter of deep interest to Thee to be Held in remembrance by us, and that Thou shouldst always desire to live in our remembrance in our love. Thou knowest, Lord, that it is not by any force my heart can be taught to remember Thee. But if by Thy love Thou dwellest in me, thinking of Thee becomes a joy, no effort or trouble, but the sweetest rest. Lord, my soul praises Thee for the wonderful grace of the Supper. First, Thou givest Thyself in Thine eternal and unchangeable love as the daily food of our souls, and then Thou dost charge us, out of the power of Thy promised presence, wherewith Thou wilt feed us, not to forget Thee. Now I dare promise it. O my Lord, at Thy table, give Thou Thyself to my soul as its food, be every day my food, and Thy love shall keep the thought of Thee ever living. Then shall I never forget Thee; no, not for a single moment. For then I shall have no life save in Thy love. Amen.
And He took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood.” The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ?” Matthew 26:27, 28; 1 Corinthians 10:16.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life” (Leviticus 27:11). For the blood is the life, the living spirit; and therefore atonement is linked with the shedding of blood. It was the surrender of the life of an innocent animal in the place of guilty man. And thus with the shedding of Jesus’ blood, His life is surrendered for our sins. The worth and the power of that blood are the worth and the power of the life of Jesus. Every drop of that blood has in it the power of an endless life.
Jesus gives me His blood. When I become partaker of that blood, I have part in the atonement which it established, the forgiveness which it secured. I have part in all that wonderful suffering in which it was shed. I have part in all the love of which that suffering and that bloodshedding were the revelation. I have part in that life which is in the blood and is in it first surrendered and then taken up again. I have part in the life of Jesus, surrendered upon the Cross, raised from the grave and now glorified in heaven. O glorious wonders of grace which lie hid in that word: Drink, for this is My blood.”
The blood of Jesus is my drink of life. Jesus’ love is the power of my life. The spirit of Jesus’ life is the spirit of my life. O my God, help me to conceive these wonders. How powerful, how heavenly must that life be which is nourished by the New Wine of the kingdom and has communion with the blood of God’s Son, not only by cleansing, but also by drinking.
Blessed Jesus, who hast loved me so wonderfully, Thou wilt not deny me the request which I now state to Thee: unfold to me the secret of Thy life in me which Thou bestowest upon me, when from above Thou still givest me to drink the blood shed for the forgiveness of my sins. Most precious Saviour, illumine and enlarge my faith, that I may now realize this truth: Jesus’ own life is in my innermost being, the life of my life. He through His own blood entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption” with the Father. Through Thine own blood come Thou to my heart to bring in this redemption there also. Lord Jesus, my heart thirsts for Thee. Come this day to me with that precious blood and let the full power of it be unveiled to me by Thyself. Let it quench my thirst. Let it cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Let it bring me into harmony with the joy and praise of those who sing: Unto Him that loveth us and loosed us from our sins by His blood, to Him be the glory and the dominion forever.” Amen.
The New Covenant
And the cup in like manner after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” Luke 22:20.
The Lord’s Supper is a covenant mealthe Feast of the New Covenant. It is of great importance to understand the New Covenant thoroughly.
It is something quite different from the Old Covenantinfinitely better and more glorious. The Old Covenant which God made with Israel was indeed glorious, but yet not adapted for sinful man, because he could not fulfill it. God gave to His people His perfect law, with the glorious promises of His help, His guidance, His blessing, if they should continue in the observance of it. But man in his inner life was still under the power of sin: he was lacking in the strength requisite for abiding in the covenant of His God.
God promised to make a New Covenant. (Read with care Jeremiah 31:31-34, 33:38-42; Hebrews 8:6-14.) In this New Covenant, God promised to bestow the most complete forgiveness of sins and to take man altogether into His favor. He further promised to communicate to him His law, not externally as written on tables, but inwardly and in his heart, so that he should have strength to fulfill its precepts. He was to give him a new heart and a new spiritin truth, His own Holy Spirit. Man was not called on in the first instance to promise that he would walk in God’s law. God rather took the initiative in promising that He would enable him to do so. I will put My Spirit within you,” said the Lord by Ezekiel (36:27), and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do them.”
Of this New Covenant, Jesus is the Mediator and Surety (Heb. 12:22, 8:6). As Surety, He stands pledged to us to secure that God will fulfill all His promises. As Surety, He is no less pledged to God in our behalf that we shall keep God’s commandments. Glorious covenant of grace, with its wonderful provision for all our needs. In the Lord Jesus, God saw it meet to establish this covenant, without fear that His rights would suffer any violation. God could rely upon His Son to see to it that His honor should be respected. And in Jesus I also may well dare to enter into this covenant, without fear that I shall not be able to fulfill it: I can rely upon Jesus to see to it that He will bring everything to completion for and in me. In the New Covenant, Jesus the Surety has not only wholly discharged the old debt, but also undertaken the responsibility for whatever else may be still required in our case.
In this New Covenant, I this day surrender myself to Thee, O my God. Thou wilt bind me to Thyself with Thy glorious promises. Thou bindest Thyself to forgive my sins, to love me as Thy child, to train, to sanctify, to bless me; to give me light, and desire, and strength for abiding in Thy covenant and doing Thy will. And I am bound to Thee in Thy precious Son. Eternal God, grant that the Holy Spirit, who is one of the promises of this New Covenant, may this day unfold to me what Thy love has destined for me in it. Wilt Thou make me to understand that Thou hast undertaken and promised to secure that I shall walk in Thy ways, and that Thou givest me Thy Son as the Surety of the Covenant to carry out all its details? Then shall I take Thy Son and the Covenant sealed with His blood, with the blessed joy of knowing that He will be in me the fulfilling of the covenant, the fulfilling as well of Thy covenant promises as of my covenant obligations.
Blessed Jesus, reach to me this day the blood of the covenant. Amen.
Unto Remission of Sins
My blood, which is shed unto remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28.
Sin: at the Lord’s Table, this word is not to be dispensed with. It is sin that gives us a right to Christ. It is as a Saviour from sin that Christ desires to have to do with us. It is as sinners that we sit down at the table. If I cannot always come immediately to Christ and appropriate Him, I can always come on the ground of my sin. Sin is the handle by which I can take hold of Christ. I may not always be able actually to lay my hand on Christ and say: Christ is mine; but I can always say: Sin is mine. And when I then hear the glad tidings that Christ died for sin, I obtain courage to say: Sin is mine, and Christ, who died for sin, died also for me. When I look upon my own righteousness, I have no courage: but when I first look on sin, I can make bold to say that Christ is mine. Sin: how sweet it is to me to hear that word from the month of Jesus at the table.
And what does my Saviour say about sin? He speaks of it only to give the assurance of the forgiveness of sin. That God no more remembers my sin and does not impute it to me, that He does not desire to look upon my sin and deal with me in deserved wrath, but meets me in love and complacency as one whose sin is taken away: that is what my Jesus secures for me, where He points me to His blood and gives it to me as my own. And that is what thou mayest believe and enjoy, O my soul, when thou drinkest that blood. And when Thou askest Him to make known to thee by His Holy Spirit the divine glory of this forgiveness as complete, effectual, entire, always valid and eternal, then shalt thou, too, be able to sing: Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven.”
Then shall you also see how this forgiveness as a living seed includes in itself all other blessings. For to whom God forgives sin, him He also receives, him He loves, him He acknowledges as a child, and gives him the Holy Spirit with all His gifts. The forgiveness of sin is, as it were, the pledge of entrance into the whole riches of the grace of God. The soul that day by day really enjoys forgiveness in the Lord Jesus shall go hence in the joy and power of the Lord.
O what a blessed feast: to know myself to be one with Jesus as a ransomed soul, and, being in Him, to be able to look out upon my sin: this is true blessedness. Blessed it is, because there, while He points with His finger to the sin for which I must be so bitterly ashamed, I can hear this glorious word: Forgiven.” Blessed, because, for the confirmation of this forgiveness and the communication of all its blessing, I am there nourished by the very blood which was shed for remission of sins. Blessed, because in the joy of the forgiveness and the enjoyment of that blood, I am anew linked with that Jesus who loves me so wonderfully. Yea, blessed, because I know that in place of sins He now gives me Himself to fill my empty heart, in order that it be adorned with the light and the beauty of His own life. Blessed feast, blessed drinking unto remission of sins!
Precious Saviour, I am naturally so afraid to look upon my sins, to acknowledge, to combat them. In the joy and the power of Thy forgiveness, I dread this no more. Now I can look upon them as a victor. Help me to love Thee much, as one to whom much has been forgiven. Amen.
My blood, which was shed for many.” Matthew 26:28
Jesus has a large heart. At the Supper Table, He not only forgot Himself, to think of His own who were gathered there around Him, but His loving eye glanced forward to all who are redeemed by His blood. For Many”: with this word He teaches His disciples to maintain fellowship, not merely with those with whom they sit at the table, but with the entire host of the redeemedthe multitude that no man can number. In the light of this word we see Him breaking, the bread and giving it to the disciples, and then again to the multitude after the day of Pentecost, and then yet again to others until the everwidening circle extends to the spot where we now sit. This truth binds all cerebrations of the Supper into one single communion in immediate contact with Him who first instituted it. It unites also the separate circles of Christ’s disciples into one universal Church, and all distinction and all separation vanish in the joyful thought that every member shares equally in the love and the life of the one Head from whom also He receives the bread. It sets the farthest distant in a relation to the love of Jesus as intimate as those who at the first received the broad from His own hand.
The observance of the Supper accordingly must renew our feeling of unity not only with the Head, but also with the Body of which we are members. The Supper must enlarge our heart, till it be as wide as the heart of Jesus. Next to love to the Lord Jesus must present love to the brethren fill our souls. Along with the word, For you,” which, as coming from His lips, is so precious to us, He desires us to couple and remember this other word, For many.”
For many:” some Christians are satisfied when all goes well with their own little circle: they think of going to heaven only in company with those that belong to them. This ought not to be. The Supper must enlarge the heart in love and prayer for all that belong to Jesus, so as to make us rejoice with them or weep with them. Nor even at this point must we stop. The true disciple of Jesus thinks of all who may yet be in their sin, and do not know about the blood which was shed for many.” Every real experience of the power of the blood must introduce me more deeply into the feelings and dispositions in which it was shed, and will constrain me to bring to the knowledge of it, the many,” for whom Christ poured it out. He that really drinks the blood which was shed for many,” and becomes inwardly partaker of the life and the love which was poured forth in that bloodhow shall he find all selfishness and all narrow-mindedness vanishing, away, and have his heart enlarged to embrace the wide compass of Jesus’ heart and Jesus’ word, when He said: My blood, shed for many.”
Precious Saviour, grant unto me Thy Spirit, that the Same mind which is in Thee may be also in me. Cause me to understand how even of Thy holy Supper thou canst say: Compel them to come in, that My house may be full.” And may all Thy people be more filled with the thought: Still there is room.” O Lord Jesus, who Thyself art love, shed abroad Thy love in our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit. Amen.
My body, which is given for you. . . . My blood, which is shed for you.” Luke 22:19, 20.
It is an old saying: The whole secret of true blessedness lies in one word, the little word Me.” All knowledge of the truth, and all acquaintance with the gospel, are of no avail without the personal appropriation of that short phrase, For me. And that word of man has, on the other hand, its foundation in the word of Jesus, For you.”
So was it at the Lord’s Table. In speaking of His body and blood, the Saviour addressed His disciples, and said to them: Given for you; shed for you.
How would the disciples in a later day feel themselves strengthened by that word. How could Peter in his deep fall, and Thomas in his grievous unbelief, and each of the others, fail to encourage themselves by remembering this: He spoke to me so cordially, just indeed as if it was meant for me alone, when He said: Given for you.”
It is in this word that for me also the richest blessing of the Lord’s Supper is
wrapt up. For, not less than to the first disciples, does the Saviour desire to say to every one of His guests: Given for you. By His Holy Spirit, He is as near to us as to them: He can make us feel the power of His eye and His voice. Not only by reaching the bread to each one separately, but much more by the heavenly operation of His Holy Spirit, will Jesus address each one, saying: Given for you.
Affecting word: how must it humble and subdue my heart. There sits the Son of God in His glory. There I bow myself in the dust, I who have been an enemy and ungodly, who am still all too much unfaithful and a transgressor. And, behold, with an eye in which holy earnestness is mingled with tender love, He points me to His broken body and shed blood, and says to me: For you, for you.
Lord, it is enough for that precious word my soul thanks Thee. That word I will lay hold of, and find in it confidence to return the answer: Yes, for me, for me; for many,” but yet also for me. The love, and the redemption, and the life, and the glory of which that blood speaks, I dare say of all: For me, for me.
Precious Jesus, my soul praises Thee for that loving word: For you. Hear my supplication, and let Thy Spirit at Thy table address it to me very powerfully. O strengthen me for a very confident and joyful appropriation of all that Thou sayest, and when my hand takes the bread, and I drink the wine, grant me with a very large and clear faith to say: For me, for me. Blessed Lord, I shall wait in silence for Thy Spirit; for to have that word from Thee is to me the secret of my blessing at the table. And Thou will give it to me. Amen.
We who are many are one body: for we all partake of the one bread.” A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” 1 Corinthians 10:17; John 13:34, 35.
Union with the Lord Jesus, the Head, involves at the same time mutual union with the members of the body. He that really eats the body of Jesus and drinks His blood, is incorporated with His body, and stands thenceforth in the closest relationship to the whole body, with all its members. We have fellowship, not only in His body which He gave up to death, but especially in His body which He brought again from the deadthat is, the Church. We are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.”
So deep and wonderful was this union of His believing disciples at the table of the New Covenant, so entirely new the life of the Spirit by which they were to be gathered together into one in Him as His body, that the Lord spoke of the love which must animate them as a new commandment. In the New Covenant there was present a new life, and thus also a new love. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
This thought is too much forgotten at the Lord’s Table, and that to the great loss of the Church. How often have guests at Jesus’ Table sat next [to] one another for years in concession without knowing or loving one another, without holding fellowship with one another, or helping one another. Many a one has sought after closer connection with the Lord and not found it, because they would have the Head alone without the body. Many a blessing has been missed and lost at the Supper, because the unity of the body was never considered. Yes: would that were it thoroughly understood; Jesus must be loved, and honored, and served, and known in His members. As by the circulation of the blood every member of our body is kept unceasingly in the most vital connection with the others, so the body of Christ can increase and become strong only when, in the loving interchange of the fellowship of the Spirit and of love, the life of the Head can flow unhindered from member to member. The observance of the Supper must be regarded as the conclusion of an alliance, not only with the Lord, but with all that sit at the table, to the effect that we shall live for one another. Not only must love to Him whose bread I eat be the object of desire, and promise, and prayer, but ,also His love to all who eat that bread along with me there.
Blessed Lord, grant unto me to feel this truth aright. As really as in this bread which Thou dost impart to me, I maintain fellowship with Thee, I maintain it also with those with whom I share the bread at the table. As I receive Thee, so do I receive them. As I desire to confess, and love, and serve Thee, so would I also them. As I would be wholly one with Thee, so would I also with them. Very humbly do I acknowledge before Thee the sins of my old natureselfishness, lovelessness, envy, wrath) indifference about others. Boldly and trustfully I entreat Thee for the love, the gentleness, the mercy, that are in Thee, to be shed abroad also in me. O Jesus, who givest Thyself to me, work in me and with me in all who eat of this one bread with me, Thine own heavenly love. Amen.
The Cup of Blessing
The cup of blessing which we bless.” 1 Corinthians 10:16.
[The Dutch version has: The cup of thanksgiving which we bless with thanksgiving.” Translator]
The, Lord’s Supper is properly a feast of thanksgiving. When He had given thanks, He brake the bread.” In like manner He took the cup, and, when He had given thanks, He gave it to them.” And after partaking of the Supper, it was when they had sung an hymn,” that they went out to the Mount of Olives. From Jewish writers, we also learn that the third cup of the Paschal feast, which was sanctified as the cup of the New Covenant, bore the name of the Cup of Thanksgiving, and that it was while it was being drunk that Psalms 116-118 were sung.
The Supper is a solemnity of redemption, the feast of the redeemed, a joyful repast at which God Himself says to us: Let us eat and be merry”; a thanksgiving banquet at which is heard a prelude of the song of the Lamb. Let me ask grace to sit down joyfully and thankfully.
So shall I honor God. He that offereth praise glorifieth Me.” God is too little honored by His people. A joyful, thankful Christian shows that God can make those that serve Him truly happy. He stirs up others to praise God along with him.
So shall I enjoy the Supper aright. Sadness cannot eat; a joyful heart enjoys food. To be thankful for what I have received and for what my Lord has prepared, is the surest way to receive more.
So shall I be strengthened for conflict and for victory. Thanks be to God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ.” Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” If my Saviour went singing from the Lord’s Table to the conflict in Gethsemane, may I, in the joy of His redemption, follow Him with thanksgiving into every conflict to which He calls me.
So shall the Spirit of heaven dwell in my heart. The nearer to the throne of God the more thanksgiving. This I see in the Revelation. In heaven they praise God day and night: a Lord’s Supper pervaded by the spirit of thanksgiving is a foretaste of it.
And thou hast good cause to be thankful, O my soul. Look at Jesus, at His blood, at His redemption, at His love, at His blessed fellowship; and let all that is within thee praise Him. Drink, yea, drink abundantly, of the cup of thanksgiving, which we drink, giving thanks.
Blessed Lord, my Redeemer and my Friend, humbly I pray Thee: let my mouth be filled with Thy praise, all the day with Thy glory. Thou art in very truth our strength and song, for Thou hast become our salvation. Lord, teach me this day to take and drink the cup with thanksgiving, and to be joyful before Thy face. For this end, Thou hast only to unveil Thyself to me in the love that streams from Thy countenance, and the glorious redemption which Thou bringest, and my soul shall be suffused with joy. Is it not just for this end that thou didst institute the Supper? Precious Saviour, with thanksgiving shall I take the cup into my hand, in the blessed assurance that Thou wilt fill me with Thy love, my heart with Thy joy, my mouth with Thy praise. Praise the Lord, my soul, who satisfiest thy mouth with good things. Amen.
Till He Come
Ye proclaim the Lord’s death till He come.” 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.” I appoint unto you a kingdom, even as My Father appointed unto Me, that ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom.” 1 Corinthians 11:26; Matthew 26:29; Luke 22:29, 30.
At the Supper, Jesus points us not only backward, but also forward. >From the suffering He points to the glory; out of the depths He calls to the heights. Because the Supper is the remembrance, the communion of Jesus, the living Saviour, it sets Him before us in all that He was, and is, and shall be. It is only in the future that we can expect to have the full realization of what is begun at the Lord’s Supper. The Supper begins under the Cross with the reconciliation of the world; it is completed before the throne of glory in the new birth of the world. It is on this account that faith, according as it has experience of the power of the heavenly food, is irresistibly drawn on to the future. The true Christian has still to wait for his inheritance. Till He come” is his watchword at every observance of the Supper. At the table his Lord speaks of drinking the fruit of the vine anew in the kingdom of the Father, and of eating and drinking at His table in His kingdom. The Supper, which is itself the fulfillment of the shadow of the Paschal Feast, is again in its turn the shadow of coming blessings, the pledge of the time when they shall cry: Blessed are they that are called to the marriage Supper of the Lamb.”
What a prospect is this. There sin is for ever put away. There the whole Church is eternally united without fault or division. There the whole creation shares in the liberty of the glory of the children of God. There the eye sees the King in His beauty; and we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Blessed thought: it shall not always be as it is now. The blessings of the Supper are mere droppings. Jesus Himself comes once for all. Then shall I sit down with Him. Yes, He comes: and I shall see Him and know Him, and He shall see me and know me. And when I fall at His feet He will call me by my name and let me rest on His breast, and take me to be one with Him inseparably and forever.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving to the Holy Trinity
(For the Communion Sabbath Evening)
Triune, God, once again on this blessed feast day I come to pour out my full heart before Thee. I will lift up my soul to Thee in prayer and supplication, and will enjoy anew what Thou hast bestowed upon me, while I praise Thee for it.
Receive my thanks, God and Father of the Lord Jesus, for the wonderful love Thou hast showed to me. That Thou hast prepared for me in Thine heart a place next Thine only-begotten Son, that Thou hast seen meet to honor me with the name and the rights of a child, that Thou hast been pleased to seal to me this privilege all this day by imparting to me the children’s; bread: for this my soul desires to praise Thee. O my Father, I will place myself anew before Thee as Thy child, to delight myself in Thee, to dedicate myself to Thee as a living sacrifice: O my Father, to live wholly for Thee, to honor Thee the whole day with a heart full of joy in Thyself, to keep myself ever burning on the altar as a thank offering by fire: how my heart longs after this. Father, receive the praise, the thanks, the love of the child whom Thou hast this day blessed, and grant me grace to walk from day to day with this song in my heart: Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.”
And what shall I say unto Thee, O my Jesus, Son of the Father, for what I have this day again received from Thee. O how I praise Thee for the love wherewith Thou hast loved me. Precious Saviour, Thou hast given Thyself unto me to be mine forever. The bond that unites Thee to me is not broken in eternity; for the bond is Thy love, which is stronger than death. Yea, the bond which Thy love has formed is Thine own Divine life. The life that is in Thee, Thou hast given to be in me: Thou hast made me one with Thyself: I am Thy flesh and bone. Son of God, my soul cannot conceive it: I can only bow in abasement, and surrender myself anew to Thee. O my Lord, Thou desirest to have me wholly: here am I to be wholly taken possession of by Thee, and to be filled with the Spirit whom Thou hast given.
And how shall I praise Thee, O Spirit of the Father and the Son, for what Thou art to me again this day. By Thee I possess and enjoy the Father and the Son. By Thee I taste the powers of the heavenly life. Every blessing which I receive from the Father and the Son I have through Thee. Thou workest in me by Thy Divine power all that I need in the spiritual life. What I have this day received and enjoyed, that Thou hast wrought in me; that Thou wilt preserve and strengthen, till I become fully partaker of the love of the Father and the grace of the Son. O Holy Spirit of God, my soul praises Thee. How long-suffering and patient hast Thou been in spite of all my sluggishness and folly. With the Father and the Son I honor Thee, I love Thee, I delight in Thee and in Thy fellowship.
Triune God of the Covenant, receive this renewed dedication of myself to Thee. Thou art all my salvation, my everlasting portion. O confirm in the most effectual way the sealing of Thy grace bestowed upon me this day, and let me now as Thy sworn ally go hence in the might of the Lord and making mention of Thy righteousness, yea, Thine alone. Amen.
The Week after the Supper
Too soon we rise: the symbols disappear.
The feast, though not the love, is past and gone;
The bread and wine remove, but thou art here,
Nearer than ever, still my Shield and Sun.
I have no help but thine: nor do I need
Another arm save Thine to lean upon;
It is enough, my Lord, enough indeed;
My strength is in Thy might, Thy might alone.
Mine is the sin, but Thine the righteousness;
Mine is the guilt, but thine the cleansing blood;
Here is my robe, my refuge and my peace
Thy blood, Thy righteousness, O Lord my God.
Feast after feast thus comes and passes by,
Yet, passing, points to the glad feast above,
Giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy,
The Lamb’s great bridal feast of bliss and love.