THE MEMORIAL SUPPER.
OUR USUAL CUSTOM of celebrating our dear Redeemer's death on its anniversary will be followed this year by a larger number, we believe, than ever before. The date will be the evening of April 12th after 6 P.M.;--that date corresponding to "the fourteenth day of the first month" Jewish time.
Our Lord, as the antitype of the Passover lamb (1 Cor. 5:7), was crucified the day before the "Feast of Passover" began; and "on the same night in which he was betrayed" he took bread, representing his flesh, and "fruit of the vine," representing his blood, and with these instituted a new memorial by which the spiritual Israelites were to celebrate their greater antitypical Passover, secured by his "blood of sprinkling" applied by faith, and his flesh, eaten by faith, "meat indeed."--John 6:55.
Our celebration has nothing in common with that of the Jews: indeed what they celebrate is the "Feast" week; while we celebrate on the day preceding their Feast the death of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. The day we celebrate represents the entire Gospel age, in which the entire Church--the body of Christ Jesus, the Head--must suffer with him as voluntary sacrificers. The Feast week to us typifies the glory and joy soon to be introduced, --in the Millennium.
Our Lord's words respecting this Memorial are, "This do ye in remembrance of me." And the Apostle adds, "As oft as ye do this ye do show forth the Lord's death till he come"--till he in his Kingdom shall have come in power and shall have gathered you unto himself. Many Christian people have assumed [R2593 : page 76] the liberty to celebrate this Memorial at various times --weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.; but in harmony with the early Church we understand our Lord to mean that we should celebrate this as we celebrate any other event--on its anniversary: just as we now might say, As oft as the Fourth of July is celebrated it shows forth the independence of this nation.
Those who celebrate our Lord's death in the "Last Supper" at noon every Sunday, mistake it for the weekly "Love Feast" or "Breaking of Bread" practiced every Lord's Day by the early Church in memory of our Lord's resurrection and his opening of the eyes of their understanding in the breaking of bread. Rightly understood, nothing in these weekly feasts of joy resembled the annual commemoration of our Master's sorrow and death--nor is the "cup" ever mentioned in connection with them.
The Church at Allegheny will celebrate the Memorial Supper commemorative of our Redeemer's death for us, and of our Pass-over from death unto life through the merit of his sacrifice, and of our consecration to "be dead with him"--to drink his "cup"-- on the evening of April 12th at 7:30 o'clock at Bible House chapel, Allegheny, Pa. Friends of the Truth who can make it convenient to meet with us will be welcomed cordially: but we advise that wherever there are home-meetings or wherever such gatherings seem possible they be not deserted. No other season seems so favorable for the drawing of the hearts of the Lord's people closely together;--even as it seems also to be specially an hour of temptation to all professing to be the Lord's followers, who like Peter of old seem to be specially sifted at this season of the year.
The advice of our Lord to the early disciples, at this time of the year, seems still specially appropriate, "Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation!" And recognizing this the older systems, Roman Catholic and Episcopalian, still precede the Memorial with a fast or Lenten season--which entered into not formally but in the spirit we believe is a very helpful custom to many--not only physically but spiritually.
"Good Friday" was substituted for the Memorial Supper as originally observed by the Lord's people-- the system of counting being slightly changed. The more frequent celebrations of the Lord's Supper by Protestants are based upon Papacy's celebration of the "Mass" an institution which both in fact and theory is an abomination to our Lord--denying as it does the fullness of the efficacy of the original sacrifice at Calvary.
We trust that the Lord's people everywhere will "do this" in remembrance of the great sin-sacrifice-- not merely as an outward memorial but also and specially at the same time feeding on the Lord by faith [R2594 : page 77] in their hearts, and afresh pledging their consecration unto death with him while partaking of the "cup." For further particulars see our issue of March 1, 1898.
We will be glad to have prompt postal card reports from the appointed secretary or scribe of each little group--wherever "two or three" meet in his dear name to do this. Make all your arrangements beforehand that the precious season of heart "communion" be not disturbed by business affairs. Let us not only all unite in prayer and communion, but also so far as practicable in our songs of praise--using numbers 23, 122 and 1 of Hymns of Dawn.