True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 727

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727. It is well known that invitations to meals and banquets serve as a means to establish links and associations in the world. For the person who gives the invitation has in mind something contributing to his end in view, which concerns agreement and friendship. Far more then is this true of invitations which are aimed at spiritual ends. Dinners in the ancient churches were charitable ones, and it was much the same in the earliest days of the Christian church, where people strengthened one another's resolve to maintain the Lord's worship in heartfelt sincerity. The feasts of the Children of Israel on sacrifices beside the Tabernacle had no other meaning than unanimity in the worship of Jehovah. The meat that they used to eat was therefore called holy (Jer. 11:15; Hagg. 2:12; and many other places), because it came from a sacrifice. What then of the bread and wine, and the Passover meat at the Lord's Supper, who offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world?

[2] In addition, the link established with the Lord through the Holy Supper can be illustrated by the link between families descended from one ancestor. From him are descended blood relations, and in series kinsfolk and relatives. They all derive something from the founder of the line, but it is not so much flesh and blood. It is rather the soul and similar inclinations which they derive from flesh and blood that forms the link. The link is also generally apparent in their faces and their behaviour, so that they are called one flesh (as in Gen. 29:14; 37:27; 2 Sam, 5:1; 19:12, 13, and elsewhere).

[3] It is much the same with linking with the Lord, who is the Father of all the faithful and blessed. Linking with Him takes place by means of love and faith, which together are called one flesh. This is why He said that 'if someone eats my flesh and drinks my blood, he remains in me and I in him' (John 6:56). Anyone can see that it is not bread and wine that do this, but the good of love, which is meant by bread, and the truth of faith, which is meant by wine. These are peculiar to the Lord, proceed from and are conferred by Him alone. Every link is forged by love, and love is not love if there is no trust. Those who believe that bread is flesh and wine is blood, being unable to lift their thoughts above this level, may cling to that belief; but in such a way as to believe that it is something very holy which makes a link with the Lord, which is being assigned for a person to make as if his own, although it constantly remains the Lord's.

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