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cause it was the supper which the lord and master of every Jewish family celebrated, on the same festival, in his own house.
This supper was distinguished, at the time alluded to, by the name of the Passover-supper. The object of the institution of it was to commemorate the event of the Lord passing over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered the former from their hard and oppressive bondage.
The directions of Moses concerning this festival were short, but precise.
On the fourteenth day of the first month, called Nissan, the Jews were to kill á lamb in the evening. It was to be eaten in the same evening, roasted with fire ; and the whole of it was to be eaten, or the remains of it to be consumed with fire before morning. They were to eat it with loins girded, with their shoes on their feet, and with their staves in their hands, and to eat it in haste. The bread, which they were to eat, was to be unleavened, all of it, and for seven days. There was to be no leaven in their houses during that time. Bitter herbs also were to be used at this feast. And none who were
uncircumcised were allowed to partake of it.
This was the simple manner in which the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread (which was included in it) were first celebrated. But as the Passover, in the age following its institution, was not to be killed and eaten in any other place than where the Lord chose to fix his name, which was afterwards at Jerusalem, it was suspended for a time. The Jews, however, retained the festival of unleavened bread wherever they Wwelt. At this last feast, in process of time, they added the use of wine to the use of bread. The introduction of the wine was followed by the introduction of new cus
The lord or master of the feast used to break the bread, and to bless it, saying, “ Blessed be thou, O Lord, who givest us the fruits of the earth!" He used to take the cup, which contained the wine, and bless it also : “ Blessed be thou, O Lord, who givest us of the fruit of the vine!” The bread was twice blessed upon this occasion, and given once to every individual at the feast. But the cup was handed round three times to the guests. During the intervals
between the blessing and taking of the bread and of the wine, the company acknowledged the deliverance of their ancestors from the Egyptian bondage ; they lamented their
present state; they confessed their sense of the justice of God in their punishment; and they expressed their hope of his
from his former kind dealings and gracious promises.
In process of time, when the Jews were fixed at Jerusalem, they revived the celebration of the Passover; and as the feast of unleavened bread was connected with it, they added the customs of the latter, and blended the eating of the lamb, and the use of the bread and wine, and their several accompaniments of consecration, into one ceremony.
The bread therefore and the wine had been long in use as constituent parts of the Passover-supper, (and indeed of all the solemn feasts of the Jews,) when Jesus Christ took upon himself, as the master of his own family of disciples, to celebrate it. When he celebrated it, he did as the master of every Jewish family did at that time. He took bread, and blessed, and broke, and gave it to his disciples. He took the cup of
wine, wine, and gave it to them also. But he conducted himself differently from others in one respect; for he compared the bread of the Passover to his own body, and the wine to his own blood, and led the attention of his disciples from the old object of the Passover, or deliverance from Egyptian bondage, to a new one, or deliverance from sin.
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Since the time of our Saviour, we find that the Jews, who have been dispersed in various
parts of the world, have made alterations in this
but all of them have concurred in retaining the bread and wine as component parts of it. This will be seen by describing the manner in which it is celebrated at the present day.
On the fourteenth day of the month Nissan, the first-born son of every family fasts, because the first-born in Egypt were smitten on that night. A table is then set out, and covered with a cloth. On the middle of it is placed a large dish, which is covered with a napkin. A large Passovercake of unleavened bread, distinguished by marks, and denominated “ Israelite,” is then laid
upon this napkin. Another, with different marks, but denominated “ Levite,"
is laid upon the first; and a third, differently marked, and denominated “Priest,” is laid upon the second. Upon this again a large dish is placed ; and in this dish is a shank-bone of a shoulder of lamb, with a small matter of meat on it, which is burnt quite brown on the fire. This is instead of the lamb roasted with fire. Near this is an egg, roasted hard in hot ashes that it may not be broken, to express the totality of the lamb. There is also placed on the table a small quantity of raw chervil, instead of the bitter herbs ordered ; also a cup with salt water, in remembrance of the sea crossed over after that repast; also a stick of horseradish with its green top to it, to represent the bitter labour that made the
of their ancestors water in slavery; and a couple of round balls, made of bitter almonds pounded with apples, to represent their labour in lime and bricks. The seat or couch of the master is prepared at the head of the table, and raised with pillows, to represent the masterly authority of which the Jews were deprived in bondage. The meanest of the servants are seated at the table, for two nights, with their masters, mistresses, and