HOW sacred the memories which gather around the anniversary of our Lord's death! It calls to mind the Father's love as exhibited in the entire plan of salvation, the center of which was the gift of his son as our Redeemer. It calls specially to our thoughts him who gave himself a ransom—a corresponding price—for all. Then faith comes still nearer to him who "suffered, the just for the unjust," and with grateful, overflowing hearts and with tear-dimmed eyes we whisper, My Savior! My Redeemer! My Lord and Master! "He loved me, and gave himself for me." Ah, yes!—
How blessed the thought that he cares to have us think of him and call him ours;—he so great—"far above angels" and every title that is named, next to the Father himself,—and we so insignificant, so imperfect, so unworthy of such a friendship. And yet, to think that "he is not ashamed to call us brethren;" and that he is pleased to have us memorialize his death; and that he gave us the bread to emblemize his broken flesh, and the wine to emblemize his shed blood,—the one to represent the human rights and privileges purchased for all, and of which all may partake, the other to represent the life he gave which secured everlasting life for all who will accept it!
How delightful, too, to count, as he and the Jews did, the days and the hours, even until finally, "the hour being come," he sat down with his disciples to celebrate the death of the typical Paschal lamb, and to consider the deliverance of Israel's firstborn from the great destruction which came upon Egypt, and the subsequent deliverance accomplished through those firstborn ones for all the typical Israel of God.
How precious to look beyond the type which was commemorated, and to hear the Master, as he took new emblems say, "This [celebrating of the Passover] do [henceforth] in remembrance of me!" Ah yes! in the crucified One we can now see "The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." "Christ our passover [lamb] is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast;" for as oft as we do this we do show forth our Lord's death until he come again—until, his Kingdom having come, we shall be permitted to drink with him the new wine (the new life and joy) in the Kingdom.—Matt. 26:29; 1 Cor. 5:7,8; 11:26.
But we are not only privileged to enjoy the favors of our Lord's sacrifice (by partaking of its merit and its consequent advantages; viz., justification and restitution rights and privileges by faith, as redeemed), but more than this: we are invited to share with our Master in the sacrifice and in its glorious reward. He says to us, Whoever is in sympathy with my work and its results—whoever would share my Kingdom and join in its work of blessing the world—let him also be broken with me, and let him join me in drinking the cup of self-denial, unto death. To all such he says, "Drink ye all of it." The Apostle confirms this thought, saying: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion [fellowship] in the blood [death] of Christ? The bread [loaf] which we break is it not the communion [common-union] in the body of Christ? For we being many [members of Christ's body] are one loaf and one body; for we are all partakers of that one loaf."—1 Cor. 10:16,17.
Gladly, dear Lord, we eat (appropriate to our necessities) the merit of thy pure human nature sacrificed for us—for our justification. Gladly, too, we will partake of the cup of suffering with thee, realizing it to be a blessed privilege to suffer with thee, that [R2436 : page 52] in due time we may also reign with thee;—to be dead with thee, that in the everlasting future we may live with thee and be like thee and share thy love and thy glory as thy bride. Oh! that we may be faithful, not only in the performance of the symbol, but also of the reality. Blessed Lord, we hear thy word saying, "Ye shall indeed drink of my cup and be baptized with my baptism." Lord, we are not of ourselves able thus to sacrifice; but thy grace is sufficient for us, for we are wholly thine, now and forever.
Oh! what a thought; that if faithful in the present privilege of drinking of his cup and being broken with our Lord as his body, we with him will soon be that "Church of the first-born ones whose names are written in heaven," and as such shall constitute the Royal Priesthood, which, under our great High Priest, will lead out of the Egyptian bondage and slavery all those slaves of Sin whose groanings and prayers for deliverance have entered the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
These will be some of the thoughts which will constrain numbers of the Lord's people all over the world to meet in little groups (and sometimes quite alone with Jesus) on the evening of March 26th, next, after six o'clock, to celebrate on its anniversary the most notable event in the history of the Universe of God. (We prefer to get the date of this anniversary memorial as exact as possible; tho we do not understand that it would seriously matter if we had not the exact day: it is the event and not the day that we celebrate. Nevertheless, a uniform annual date is desirable.)
Eat and drink, O beloved, says the Bridegroom to his spouse. (Sol. Song 5:1.) Let us eat and drink reverently, [R2437 : page 52] devotedly, thoughtfully, prayerfully, tearfully perhaps, as we each think of our Redeemer's love and sacrifice, and pledge ourselves afresh to be dead with him. Meet with any who recognize him as their ransom, and who are pleased to do this in remembrance of him—or else do it alone.
Let your heart be so full of the reality that forms and ceremonies will generally be forgotten, except such as are needed for decency and order. Prepare beforehand some sort of "fruit of the vine." Our preference is for stewed-raisin juice or unfermented grape juice: and for bread either Jewish unleavened bread or plain water-crackers, which are about the same in substance—flour, water and salt, without leaven. Leaven being a symbol of sin or corruption, yeast-raised bread is not an appropriate symbol of our Lord, the "undefiled and separate from sinners."
The Church at Allegheny will meet at "Bible House" chapel, Arch street, at 7 P.M. of the day named. All who trust in the substitutionary sacrifice finished at Calvary, and who are fully consecrated to the Redeemer's service, and who can make it convenient to meet with us, will be made very welcome. Some who profess that their wills are fully immersed into the will of Christ, desire to symbolize their baptism; and an opportunity will be afforded after the 3 P.M. services.