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By appointment in our last issue, the anniversary of the slaying of the Passover lamb, which typified the death of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, was celebrated by saints in various places on Saturday evening, April 21st. We have heard from several meetings, and from others whose insolation prevented communion with other saints except in spirit.
The Pittsburgh assembly numbered about one hundred. We had the pleasure of greeting two brethren from New York State, one from Illinois, and one from Missouri, besides seven from different sections of this State. We believe all felt it good to be there; and in our communion with the Master, the lonely and scattered ones—members of the same body and fellow-heirs of the same glorious promises—were all remembered.
We broke and ate the unleavened bread thinking of its antitype—the true and living bread which came down from heaven to give life to the world—the pure and sinless (unleavened) Jesus. As we broke it we thought of his body as broken for us—How “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” In the cup of wine which we drank, we recognized the blood of Christ shed for many for the remission of sins—the blood of the New Covenant—and we appreciated it as the blood of the covenant wherewith we were sanctified. It was to us no common thing, as we esteemed his death no ordinary death. It was viewed as the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without spot or blemish, whose blood speaketh better things for us than the blood of bulls and goats—even the remission of sins for ever.
And looking further, under direction of the Word, we saw that these emblems meant still more—the sharing of them represents how we as his church, after justification through his blood, are permitted to share his sufferings and his death. It is thus that we have fellowship and communion with him—”filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ.”
As we reflected on this symbolism as expressed in Paul’s words (1 Cor. 10:16,17): “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, being many, are one bread [loaf] and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” We rejoiced that the plan of God was such as to enable us, after partaking of the sin-cleansing benefits of Jesus’ death, to sacrifice our justified humanity with his, and thus become heirs of the divine nature—joint heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord. Thus we esteemed it our privilege to count the present trials and offense of the cross all joy, knowing that they shall work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory—if we are rightly exercised thereby.
Brother Sunderlin, who was present, called to mind Jesus’ words at the first supper—”Verily one of you which eateth shall betray me”—and remarked, there have been many such betrayers since. Then he asked, and doubtless all questioned, Lord, Is it I? and prayed, Forbid it, Lord. We remembered, too, that to the most earnest disciples that hour of trial was severe. All forsook the Lord, and some denied him. We prayed, “Lead us not into temptation,” yet felt that we were really stronger in his power because of our recognized weakness in our own strength.
Our communion was very sweet indeed, and long to be remembered. Then we sang a hymn and went out thinking of the scenes and circumstances attending and succeeding the first supper—the garden of Gethsemane, Pilate’s judgment hall, Herod’s soldiers, Calvary.
It will not be out of place to remark that what we celebrate is not the feast of the Passover, which, with the Israelite, lasted seven days, but we celebrate the killing of the lamb which precedes the feast. The church feasts daily and
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hourly during the Gospel dispensation on the blessings resulting from the death of Christ. Such feasting was not possible before the Lamb was slain: at Pentecost this antitypical feast began. Hence, too, it was that our celebration was on the evening preceding the Feast of Passover season as observed by the Hebrews.
— May, 1883 —