III. SECTION. A Digression shewing: 1. That Eating and Drinking toge∣ther. Especially upon, and after a pacificatory Sacrifice, was a farther confirmation of Mutuall peace, both among Jewes and Gentiles: And 2. That the Eating the Lords Supper, hath the same intent and accord thereunto: The Harmony of all these notions together.
NOw therefore to draw all these lines into one center, and to make the harmony and consent of all these notions the more full; and together therewith to render the harmony more compleat betweene the Lords death, and its being intended as a sacrifice to procure this peace, and the Lords Supper as a feast after this sacrifice, holding forth this very thing, as purchased thereby, and so further to confirme all this: looke as before I shew∣ed (as in relation to the demonstration that Christs death was intended as a sacrifice for such a peace) that that was one end and use of sacrifices both among Jewes and Gentiles, to found and create Leagues of amity between man and man so it is proper and requisite for me now to make another like digression, (as in relation to this notion of the Lords Supper) to shew how that also by eating and feasting together (especially after or upon such a kind of sacrifice) these Leagues of Love were anciently used to be further con∣firmed and ratified: that so it may appeare that as ac∣cording to the analogy of such sacrifices, Christs death was a sacrifice directed and intended to that end; so also that according to the analogy of such feasting in and upon sacrifices, this eating and feasting together upon the symboles of that sacrifice by believers, is as genuinely intended a scale of this reconciliation amongst them, and that in a due corre∣spondency Page 44 and answerablenesse to the genuine intent of that sacrifice it selfe, as that which had purchased and pro∣cured it.
I might be as large in this as in the former. When after a grudge and enmity past betweene Laban and Jacob, Laban to bury all things betweene them would enter into a Cove∣nant of peace; Come (sayes he, Gen. 31. 44.) let us make a Covenant I and thou: and (that by a signe, for he addes) let it be a witnesse betweene thee and me: Now what was that signe and witnesse? in the 46. 'tis said, They tooke stones, and made an heape, and did EATE THERE: and v. 54. (after an Oath passed v. 53.) Jacob offered a sacrifice on the Mount; and called his Brethren (or Kinsmen) to eate bread; and early in the morning Laban departed. The like did Isaac with Abimelech, Gen. 26. 28. David with Abner, 2 Sam. 3. 20. I single forth chiefly those two, 1. Because the par∣ties that used and agreed in this signall rite, were the one Jewes, as Isaac and Jacob; the other Gentiles, as Abimilech and Laban: to shew at once that this way of convenanting was common to them both, as the former by sacrificing was also shewn to be.
* And further, that this rite of eating together, the Gentiles themselves did use, especially after such sacrifices as were fede∣rall, unto this intent, that by that superadded custome of eating together, upon or after sacrificing, they might the more ra∣tifie and confirme such Covenants, first made, and begun by sacrificing. This seemes to me to be the intendment, Exod. 34. 15. Lest thou make a Covenant (God speakes it to the Jew) with the Inhabitants of the Land, and thou goe a whoring Page 45 after their Gods, and doe Sacrifice unto their Gods, and one call thee, and thou eate of their Sacrifices: namely upon pretence of confirming that Covenant, which having first been con∣tracted and agreed on, they might further be drawn on, to Sacrifice and so eate of the Sacrifices also, with those Hea∣thens in token of confirming such a league, as was the known common manner and custome of each to doe.
Yea, and those that were more barbarous and inhumane among the Gentiles, when they would put the more bind∣ing force into their Covenants, or some such more solemne conspiracy, they used to sacrifice a man (a slave suppose,) and eate His Flesh, and drinke His Bloud together; which because they judged the more stupendious, they judged would carry with it, the deepest and more binding obligati∣on. Thus,* wee read in Plutarch, Those Roman Gallants entring into a Covenant dranke the bloud of a man, whom first as a Sacrifice they had killed. And the same Plutarch sayes of another company (those conspirators with Catiline:) that they Sacrificed a man, and did eate His Flesh. So to bind and unite each other more firmely to stick fast, and close together in so great an undertaking, by the most sure and firmest way that their Religion could invent.* And Psal. 16. 4. makes an expresse mention of such among the Heathens, terming them Their drinke offerings of blood. See also EZek. 39. 17, 18, 19. Men and Nations lesse bar∣barous tooke WINE instead of bloud, to confirme their leagues after Sacrifices, it being the likest and neerest unto bloud, the bloud of the Grape.
Now then to bring all this home to the point in hand, Christ our Passeover, (and so our Sacrifice for us) having been slayn and offred up for our mutuall peace, hath instituted and ordained us Believers to keepe this feast, (It is the A∣postles own allusion, agreeing with and founded on the Page 46 notion we have been prosecuting:) and that to this end, That by partaking of it as a Sacrifice, and by shewing forth His death, wee might hold forth, all the avowed ends of that Sacrifice with Application to our selves. The eminent ends of the one as a Sacrifice, corresponding and answering to the eminent ends of the other as a Feast. A Feast it is, of Gods providing, and he the great entertainer of us at it, in token of peace betweene Him and us: for HE it was, who prepared the Sacrifice it selfe, and unto whom as a whole burnt offring Christ was offred up; But God is not as one that sits down and eates with us, though He smelt a sweet savour in it, we are the guests, and He the Master, of this Feast: And yet He thereby proclaimes, and professeth His being reconciled, in that He causeth us to sit downe at His Table. And this is the prime, and most eminent signifi∣cancy of it. And to hold forth this intent thereof, as be∣tween God us, others have prosecuted this notion. But there is another, (more conspicuously suited to the notion which hath been driven, and) which is no lesse in the intention of the institution it selfe: and indeed of the two more obvious to outward sence,) and that is, that the Persons themselves, for whom it is prepared, that doe visibly sit down, and doe eate and drinke (in proper speech,) the Bread and Cup together, that they are agreed, and at peace each with other. God He is but as an invisible entertainer: but our eating and drinking together, is visible to all the world; we outwardly shew forth his death, and doe withall as visibly shew forth this to have been the in∣tent of it. Yea and if wee could raise up those Nations of old, both Jewes and Gentiles, and call together the most part of the world at this day: and should but declare, that this is a Feast, especially a sacrificall Feast, a Feast after a Sacrifice, offered once up for our amity & peace by so great A Mediatour: the common instinct, and notion which Page 47 their own customes had begot in them, would presently prompt them, and cause them universally to understand and say among themselves, These men were at enmity one with another, and a Sacrifice was offred up to abolish it, and to confirme an Union and Pacification amongst them, and loe therefore, they doe further eate and participate thereof, and communicate therein. A manifest profession it is, that they are in mutuall love, amity and concord one with another: and thereby further ratifying that Unity, which that Sacrifice, had beene offred up afore, for the renewing of. This is truly the interpretation of that solemn celebration even in the sight of all the Heathens and unto the Principles of all the Nations, among whom Sacrifices were in use: yea and this they would all account, the strongest and firmest bond of union that any Religion could afford. And add this, the more noble the Sacrifice was, as if of a man, beeing a more noble Creature, the more obliging they accounted (as was observed) the bands of that Covenant made thereby.
Now our Passeover is slain, our peace is sacrificed, not man, but Christ God-man; He sanctifying by the fulnesse of God dwelling personally in him the Sacrifice of that His Flesh and humane nature, to an infinity of valew and worth. He hath become a Sacrifice of our mutuall peace, was cut in twain; and to compleate this union among our selves, He hath in a stupendious way appointed His own Body and Bloud to be received and shared as a Feast amongst us, suc∣ceeding that Sacrifice once offred up. The bread we breake is it not the communion of the Body of Christ:*the Cup the Communion of His Bloud:* (so speakes Paul a most faithfull interpreter of these mysteries) and a Communion of many as one Body (as it followes there.) 'Tis strange that an Hea∣then speaking of one of their sacred Feasts, inten∣ded to confirme an agreement between two great person∣ages, should use the same expression;*Communicarunt con∣cordiamPage 48 they are said TO HAVE COMMUNICATED CONCORD, And this because they communicated together in the same Feast dedicated to their chiefe God, and which was ordained to testify concord between them: The Apostle calls it in like manner, A COMMUNION: whereby MANY are made ONE Bread, IN THAT THEY EATE OF THAT ONE BREAD; Which whilest they eate and drinke in, they eate and drinke the highest charity and agree∣ment each with, and unto other.
But that this sort of Peace and Love, namely mutuall among the Receivers was an avowed intendment of our partaking of the Lords Supper, needs not to be insisted on: this import of it hath tooke the deepest impression upon the most vulgar apprehension, of all that professe Christi∣anity, of any other. To be in charity with their Neighbour, &c. hath remaind in all ages of the Church, upon the spirits of the most ignorant and superstitious, when those other higher ends and intendments of it were forgotten. My inference therefore is strong and sure: that what was thus eminent an intention of this Feast upon a Sacrifice, must needs be, upon all the former accounts, as eminent an intention of that Sacrifice it self, as such.
Onely let mee ad this: That though all the people of God will not; some of them not at all: many not together eate of this Feast through difference of judgement, (And it is strange, that this which is the Sacrament of con∣cord, should have in the controversies about it more differences, and those more dividing then any other part of Divine truth or worship,) yet still however this stands good, to be the native originall end, and institution of the Ordinance it selfe, and so by inference, This to have been the intent of Christs death as a Sacrifice to the same end: of which death, to be sure, they all must partake; and unto which Christ they must have recourse, even all and everyPage 49 person that are, or shall be the people of God; And by so doing they find themselves upon all these accounts fore∣mentioned, engaged and obliged unto peace and concord with all the Saints in the world, how differing so ever in judgement, in Him, who is our Peace, and by that Sacrifice hath made both one. And thus much for this Branch, which treates of what Christ hath done in his own person to procure this peace.