OUR ANNIVERSARY SUPPER.
On the evening of April 7th, the anniversary of the institution of the bread and wine as symbols of our Lord's broken body and shed blood, as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, the Church at Pittsburgh celebrated the same. The company numbered about one hundred and fifty, and included probably forty from neighboring towns, and a few from distant points--New York, Ohio and Wisconsin. We need scarcely say that it was, as usual, a very impressive occasion.
We briefly reconsidered the significance of the bread and wine as emblems, and the importance and value of that which they symbolize--the broken body and shed blood of our Redeemer. We saw that the eating of the flesh signified our acceptance and appropriation of the perfect humanity and all its rights, which our Lord sacrificed for Adam and all his race. We saw that when our Lord said, "My flesh...I will give for the life of the world" (Jno. 6:51), he meant, I give up, or sacrifice my perfect (unleavened) human nature that the world may have perfect human nature ("that which was lost"), by accepting of my sacrifice and appropriating (eating) my rights and perfections, freely given on their behalf.
We saw that thus the bread is for all who would be restored, and must be accepted and digested (appreciated), before it will benefit any, either in this, the Gospel age, or in the Millennial age. All who would recover that which was lost must accept of the ransom, and thus obtain restitution (actually or reckonedly) as its result. We saw that all who eat of the flesh of the Lamb, do not drink of his blood. In the type-- the Passover--the doorposts and lintels of the house were sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb; and so, too, with all who would "eat the flesh" of the "Son of Man" (partake of his merits and justification); they must all recognize and own the blood --the precious life shed for all, for the remission of the sins of the whole world.
But the privilege of drinking of "the cup"--Mark 10:38--(sharing in the sacrifice of life) is offered only during the Gospel age. It is the favor or privilege of this age, to "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ," and to get the reward with him of sharing also his glory to follow. So, then, as the eating of the flesh (bread) signifies justification to all human rights and privileges, so the drinking of the blood (wine) signifies our sharing with our Lord in his sacrifice, our becoming "dead with him," our participation in his sufferings--crucified with him.
This being true, how appropriate that the giving of the wine was after the eating of the bread, and to those only who had eaten it. This teaches, in harmony with all the Scriptures, that only those who are justified from all sin by faith in the merit and sacrifice of the Lamb of God (and no others) are invited to crucify their (justified) humanity and share in the afflictions of Christ in this age, and in his glories which shall follow in the Millennial age and the eternity beyond.
Only those who both eat his flesh (appropriate his merits--justification) and drink his blood (share with him in his sacrifice by rendering their justified humanity a sacrifice to his service) dwell in him, and he in them, as members of the one "body of Christ," as members of the "true vine." (Jno. 6:56). Only such (verse 53) can have inherent life: that is, life independent of all conditions--Immortality. (See MILL. DAWN, VOL. I., Chap. X.)
The balance of mankind, however, may by eating (appropriating) the sacrificed rights of the "man Christ Jesus" obtain a dependent life, which will be supplied to the willing and obedient everlastingly.
These must all be first brought to a knowledge of the Lord, of the sacrifice which he gave, and of the justification and restitution provided in it, and may then partake of it freely and live. Of such it is written, "He that eateth of this bread (without sharing "the cup") shall live forever," and "He that eateth me, even he shall live by me"--a dependent life, but surely supplied to all who rely upon Christ, the life-giver, for it. The distinction is, that the Gospel church now being selected --the body of Christ--will, with the head, have immortality, have inherent life, and will be the source of supply to the world, who will come continuously to the fountain for life, and live thereby.
We noticed particularly also the statement of the apostle that "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily--not discerning the Lord's body--eateth and drinketh condemnation to himself." (1 Cor. 11:27-29.) We saw the import of this to be, that to all who fail to recognize Christ's sacrifice for their sins, the eating of those emblems implies their guilt as his murderers, in the same sense that the Jews cried out, "His blood be upon us and on our children." As the Jews made themselves guilty of innocent blood (death), so do all who now by eating the emblems say, his blood is upon us--unless they discern the Lord's body and blood as their ransom. To all who do not recognize it as their ransom--it must signify an increase of their condemnation as sharers of the guilt of the breaking of his body and shedding of his blood, seeing that to them it speaks no forgiveness--no remission of sins.
The succeeding four days were wholly given up to meetings in which were discussed various topics of interest which we cannot here recast. These meetings seemed to be specially and deeply interesting to the visiting friends who, we trust, went back to their respective fields of service refreshed and strengthened by the strong meat of God's Word, and the new wine of joy and hope, distilled from the exceeding great and precious promises examined.
During their visit the following nine brethren and sisters embraced the opportunity to symbolize their consecration "even unto death" (Rom. 6:3,4), to be immersed in water in the likeness of the real immersion into death, as per our Lord's request (Mark 16:16), and the apostles' command (Acts 10:48). Their names are as follows. Brother and Sister A. Bowen, Bro. J. W. Mason, Bro. Thos. R. Jackson, Sister J. Vero, Sister M. J. Wagner, Sister M. Thompson, and Sisters Carson and Mitchell.
Many letters received show that the Brethren and Sisters in every direction remembered the Master's words, "This do in remembrance of me." In some places the gatherings were of a considerable number, while in others only one or two. We know that all who did "do this" from the right motives, discerning the Lord's sacrifice for their sins and their consecration with him, were surely blessed greatly. Many letters received bear the same testimony. You were not forgotten by us, as we assembled here, and your letters assure us, that we were not forgotten by you. This mutual interest of the "body" in all of its members is right, and rejoices our hearts often.