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II OLY OBLATION.
I INSTITUTION OF THE EUCHARIST. THE holy Eucharist was “ordained by
Christ Himself,” on the evening preceding His crucifixion. The particulars of its appointment are recorded by three of the Evangelists, St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke ; as well as by the Apostle St. Paul, who received the account by direct revelation from God.1 Their narratives on the subject, with the exception of that of St. Matthew, are respectively and with great propriety recited in the Communion Service of our Church, on the Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday in Passion Week, the latter being the anniversary of its institution. A
i St. Matt. xxvi; St. Mark xiv: St. Luke xxii; 1 Cor. xi,
summary is also given in the Prayer of Consecration, which, being a harmony of the whole, is here subjoined : .
“Our Saviour Jesus Christ, in the same night that He was betrayed, took bread; and, when He had given thanks, He brake it, and gave to His disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body, which is given for you: Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise after supper He took the cup; and, when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins: Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me.”
T NATURE OF THE EUCHARIST. The Church has always viewed this ordinance under three different aspects,--as a Sacrifice, a Sacrament, and a Communion.
1. A Sacrifice. It was at the institution of the Eucharist that the everlasting priesthood of Christ really commenced. The great act of His passion now began, which was to be “a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.” From henceforth the bloody rites of the Law were to cease, having received their accomplishment in the sufferings and death of the Lamb of God. It was now that He “sanctified”, or dedicated Himself to His Father, a willing victim for our sins, and simultaneously the unbloody representation of His sacrifice began, whereby He was to be a “Priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedec”, whose oblation, when he blessed Abram, consisted of “ bread and wine”. These elements were typical of His Body and Blood; and now, in His holy and venerable hands, they became mysteriously united to His person, both God and man. At the same time He gave the priests of His Church, as His vicegerents on earth, power likewise to consecrate bread and wine to be His Body and Blood, and thus to “shew the Lord's death till He come”. And not only to shew it to His people, but to make a sacrificial memorial of it before His hea
THE HOLY OBLATION. 11.) He is, or ought to be, robed in vestments symbolical of the sacerdotal character of Christ, whom he now personates.1 Thus the albe, which he is required to wear, represents the white garment with which our Saviour was vested by Herod ; the girdle, maniple, and stole, the cords and bands with which He was bound in the different stages of His passion ; the chasuble, and likewise the cope, signify the purple garment with which He was clothed as a mock king; and the hood, worn if the priest be a graduate, represents the cloth or rag with which the Jews muffled our Saviour's face, when they bid Him prophesy who it was that struck Him.
The bread is placed on the altar whole and unbroken, to signify the unity of Christians, according to what St. Paul says, 1 Cor. x, 17:-“For we being many, are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread.” Water is mixed with the wine? in token of the blood and water that flowed together out of our Saviour's side.
1 Rubric ut supra.
2“ Before all other things, this we must be sure of especially, that this supper be in such wise done and ministered, as our Lord and Saviour did, and commanded