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my flesh to eat, and my blood to drink, and they shall know by experience what I once declared, and at which many were offended; that the one is meat indeed, and the other drink indeed; that is, as meat and drink refresh the body, so these afford spiritual nourishment to the soul. There they shall sup with me, and I with them. In short, this passover was so desirable to Christ, and ought to be gratefully remembered by us, because in it he instituted that solemn feast which is to be considered as a standing memorial of his dying love, and by a proper attendance upon which the benefits of his death are applied to us, and the gift and graces of his Spirit encreased in us, in order to our complete blessedness in the world to come.
II. Notice the place in which Christ would eat this passover. Not in Herod's, or the High Priest's palace; for he who took upon him the form of a servant, did not affect state and grandeur. Not in the magnificent dwelling of a Roman officer, or Jewish ruler, where he might be attended with a numerous retinue of servants; he came not to be ministered to, but to minister. Probably it was some place of public entertainment, the master of which was friendly and hospitable; for the word " guest chamber" properly signifies an inn, or place to bait at. Yet it must be "prepared" and fitted for the purpose. He shall shew you, says Christ to his disciples, "an upper room," remote from noise, free from hurry, and where we shall not be exposed to any insult or interruption. A large room," sufficient to hold the whole company; that is, Christ himself and the twelve apostles. Some have thought that the man of the house and his family were also present, it being customary for all under the same roof to eat the passover together. Others of the friends of Jesus might also be present. I would add, that this room or chamber
was not to be like the house into which the unclean spirit returned, empty; but "furnished" with all the conveniencies necessary upon this occasion; such as, a table to sit down at, benches or rather couches to recline upon, which was the table posture in those days, together with plates, dishes, and other vessels proper for the solemnity. Now this may be considered as emblematical,
1. Of the gospel church. It is an upper chamber, or room, nearer to heaven than any other part of the earth; nay, one part of it, the church triumphant, is in heaven. It is also a large and spacious chamber. However many have been admitted, yet there is room and provision enough for more. Compel them to come in, says Christ, for yet there is room; room for all that have entered, and for many more. It is also well furnished with all those things necessary for the accommodation of those who have a right to be there: instead of a deficiency there is a redundancy. Here is a table richly spread; a feast of fat things, of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined-Wisdom hath built her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars, she hath killed her beasts, she hath mingled her wine, she hath furnished her table. Nothing can be more magnificent than the building, nothing more sumptuous than the entertainment. Here Christ affords his spiritual presence, and even now eats the passover with his disciples.
2. It may resemble the renewed and sanctified heart. (Psalm iv. 4.) Commune with your own heart. (Heb.) Enter into your own chamber. This is that room to which Christ has an absolute right, and to which above all others he lays claim. Son, says he, give me thine heart. And every gracious heart will give him this answer: My heart thou shalt have. First prepare it for thyself, and then possess it as thine own. Thither come and cat thy passover.
There I long to entertain thee, and be entertained by thee !'
The furnished room may also resemble a heart endowed with all the gifts, and adorned with all the graces of the Spirit. It is stripped of its former furniture, pride, vanity, ignorance, carnality, and unbelief; and furnished with faith, knowledge, meekness, humility, heavenly mindedness, with good thoughts, desires, and resolutions. The king's daughter is all glorious within. In a word, it is not only swept, but washed and richly embellished, being designed as a palace for the King of kings. There he holds his court, and sways his sceptre; there he spreads a table and prepares a feast, unequalled on earth, and only to be exceeded in heaven.
I shall now sum up all with a brief improvement.
(1.) Will Christ eat the passover with his disciples ? Surely he will. What he did once was to signify what he will do still. Let it then be your chief ambition to have his company. Not the Lord's supper merely, but communion with the Lord in his supper, is the thing to be desired. Ordinances without Christ are like wells without water, or dishes without meat.
(2.) If we desire that Christ should thus eat the passover with us, where is the guest-chamber, the sanctified heart? Is not the place where he should be accommodated and entertained, applied to some other use? Is thy filthy heart, oh sinner; is thy divided heart, oh thou formal professor, a fit habitation for the Saviour! Well may the apostle James say, Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded! For what communion hath light with darkness; and what concord hath Christ with Belial? James iv. 8. 2 Cor. vi. 15. 16.
LUKE V. 8.
Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, oh Lord!
PETER, overwhelmed and confounded by the display which Christ had just made of his power, in the miraculous draught of fishes, falls down at his feet and adores. Thus Job fell upon the ground, and worshipped: and the eminent servants of the Lord, under the old testament, were called Nephitim, from a word which signifies to fall before God. This act also expressed the state of Peter's mind. He was surprised and amazed, humbled and self-abased, filled with a holy fear and reverence of the august personage before whom he appeared, and to whom he said, in the words of our text, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, oh Lord!
I. Remark his confession: "I am a sinful man."
Angels who excel in strength, continually stand in the presence of God, and are neither intimidated by his terrors, nor overwhelmed by his transcendant glories. But oh Lord, I am a man; a weak, frail, dying creature, formed out of the dust, and hastening to return thither: my flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and thy terrors make me afraid. I am also a sinful man, oh Lord, and it becomes me to be clothed with
humility before thee. Peter could say nothing which tended more to self-abasement than this. I am a polluted, guilty, self-condemned, wretched and undone creature! This is a confession which either the wrath or grace of God will extort from the lips of every man. I and my people are wicked, says Pharaoh. God be merciful to me a sinner, says the publican. Peter viewed himself as being shapen in iniquity, and by nature a child of wrath, even as others; born like the wild ass's colt, and prone to transgress. In this penitent acknowledgment, he had a respect not only to the evil done by him, but to the evil that dwelt in him. He might consider himself as under the guilt of many actual and heinous transgressions: he had given innumerable instances of a carnal mind, which is enmity against God; and of an unbelieving heart, which is enmity against Christ. As was the fountain, so were the streams; as his nature was polluted, so his life was contaminated with many sins. The root of bitterness within springing up, had brought forth gall and wormwood. Not a day, not an hour had passed, in which he had not violated the holy and righteous law of God; and his sins were greatly aggravated by the character he sustained, and the office he bore in the church of Christ. Neither the grace of God, nor the excellent example set before him by the incarnate Saviour, were a sufficient restraint upon his corruptions. He had had clear convictions, formed solemn resolutions, enjoyed superior privileges, and was under stronger obligations than others; yet he sinned. As God hates sin most in his own people, so they hate it most in themselves. With what self-abhorrence did Peter pronounce these words: I am a sinful man! After all that mercy has done for me, and the divine Spirit has wrought in me; amidst all the light and knowledge I have received, and the helps and assistances which I have enjoyed; though a professor, a preacher, an apostle,