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CELEBRATIONS OF THE MEMORIAL SUPPER
THE celebration of the death of the antitypical Paschal Lamb, our Lord Jesus, on its anniversary, this year the evening of April 15, was very general, as judged by the numerous reports thus far received. As usual, the numbers of communicants varied greatly, from two or three individuals to a couple of hundred,—and in several instances solitary believers worshiped and partook alone, association with others being impossible. All reports seem to indicate deep spiritual blessing and a growing appreciation of the great event celebrated, as the center of Christian joy and hope.
Those who deny the ransom,—that we were bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ, have properly neither part nor lot in memorializing that great transaction;—nor have those who by lives of sin make themselves “the enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Phil. 3:18.) Hence the fact that the number at each place, as well as the number of places, seems to show considerable increase over previous celebrations, is a favorable indication.
The occasion at Allegheny will long be remembered by some present. Beginning at 4.30 P.M. there was a baptism service. In a discourse of nearly an hour the true Scriptural idea of immersion was set forth and contrasted with popular but false ideas on the subject. It was shown that water immersion is not for the remission of sins, nor to be a door into an earthly church, but that it is a symbol merely, an outward confession of an immersion of the heart, the will, into the will of Christ;—a full consecration or immersion into
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Christ as members of his mystical body, sharers in his death to the self-will; and in our case also a death to sin. (Rom. 6:3-5.) Twenty-four adults (twelve each sex) were immersed in symbol in water, assenting first to their faith in the Lord as their personal Savior, whose sacrifice for sin formed the only ground-work of their justification and acceptance with the Heavenly Father; and, secondly, assenting that they had already consecrated, buried, immersed their wills into the Lord’s will, laying ambition, talents, earthly possessions, hopes, fears,—all, even life, at the Savior’s feet, to be henceforth, to the end of the race, used not for themselves, but wholly devoted to the service of him who loved us and gave himself for us. It was a solemn and impressive service, not for them alone, but for the hundred or more witnesses present, the majority of whom had made and symbolized the same covenant.
From eight to nine-thirty o’clock the Supper was celebrated. The significance of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine as representatives of our Lord’s broken body and shed blood, and of our Lord himself as the antitype of the Passover lamb, were considered: it was shown that as the institution of the
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type, the night previous to Israel’s departure from Egypt, affected first the first-born of Israel and later all Israel, delivered from Pharaoh and Egypt, so the death of our Lamb (Christ Jesus—”the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world”) affects first, during the Gospel age, the “Church of the first-born” ones and subsequently, during the Millennium, will affect the deliverance of all who are or who will become God’s true servants, delivering them from the slavery of Satan and the present evil world.
The emblems of our Master’s broken body and shed blood were sweet to us, and by faith through the emblems we partook of the merits and graces of our Lord and his exceeding great and precious promises vouchsafed for the future. We were sad at the thought of our Lord’s sufferings for us; yet glad—so glad—that he paid the great price for us. We noticed, also, the Apostle’s suggestion (1 Cor. 10:16,17) that the bread and wine not only symbolize our Lord’s body and flesh broken for us, but that since we are accepted of him and are reckonedly his flesh and his bones while in the earthly tabernacle, so the bread (one loaf) represents our flesh consecrated to death with our Lord, in his service and in the service of his people. Likewise we have a communion (common union or fellowship) in the cup—our earthly lives are consecrated to be poured out in death, that we may partake with our Lord also in his new life—”partakers of the divine nature.”—2 Pet. 1:4.
Having celebrated the death of the antitypical Passover Lamb, let us now celebrate the antitypical feast of Passover, not for a typical seven days, but for the antitypical period—all time, forever—feeding upon “the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,” and abstaining from all sin, symbolized under the Law by leaven.
We give a few very brief extracts from some of the reports of the Memorial celebration at hand, as follows, requesting that all friends who reported accept this as our acknowledgment:—
Cohoes, N.Y.—The Memorial service was held as usual, and I cannot help but feel that it was the most blessed season that we have yet witnessed; such a deep spiritual atmosphere attending it.
Hegewisch, Ill.—Just a word about our celebration of the Memorial Supper in this place. There were seven of us present—all truth seekers and believers in the ransom. We first sang a few appropriate hymns, then had a short testimony meeting,—subject “Why is Christ precious to me?” Then a season of prayer followed, after which there was a brief review of our reasons for celebrating the Supper at this time, and a short talk on 1 Cor. 11:23-32, especially with the thought of showing forth the Lord’s death “till he come.” We pictured the eventful night of his betrayal and his death. As we thought of the sufferings, the bloody sweat, the broken heart of our dear Savior, the tears came in all our eyes. Then, as the emblems were passed, we felt as never before the truth, “Is it not a participation of the body and blood of the Anointed One?”
One thing I must not forget: We each made some request to be prayed for, and the answers received during the past few days have been truly wonderful. Praise God! The one thought uppermost in our service seemed to be,
“We may not know, we cannot tell
What pain he had to bear,
But we may know it was for us
He hung and suffered there.”
Waukesha, Wis.—Eight met to partake of the bread and wine of our Lord’s Passover. We each renewed our covenant relationship for the new sacred year, promising to be more zealous if possible in the Master’s work.
Salem, Ore.—I am happy to be able to write once more of our meeting together to commemorate our Lord’s death, “till he come.” Altho we have not had many additions this year, we were all rejoiced to meet together without one missing, all in their places, and none sorry of their covenant, but all confessing to growth in Christian faith and fellowship.
We earnestly desire your prayers in our behalf that we may grow in all the graces needed to become like our Master and true representatives of him, while spreading this glorious truth. We all received a great blessing, and we pray for all the little flock everywhere.
Ballston, N.Y.—Greeting in the Lord Jesus Christ, our “Elder Brother!” At the Supper there were seven present, a goodly number, and we had a
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spiritual feast. It is not yet a year since the first one of six came into the light. I was requested to take charge of the Supper, and I did so, meekly but not doubtingly. Blessed be God that giveth us the victory! I am assured that we pray in union of spirit; and the Father’s Word through Christ is being manifested to his saints. Glorious is our hope!
Hayne, N.C.—Brother Draper has come and gone, but his influence remains. Notwithstanding the busy season, made more so by excessive rains which had just abated, the attendance at the series of meetings was very good, about filling the house in the day time, while many could not get in it in the evenings; so much so that on invitation of prominent Baptists who begin to see and love the truth services were held in their larger church house, which would not accommodate many that went. People of all creeds here and nearly all of the neighborhood heard and seemed to understand. Five symbolized baptism, and others expressed a desire to do so after hearing the explanation of the symbol, and when it should be performed. About 35 partook of the Supper, three times as many as ever before. It was indeed a delightful occasion. We are truly grateful for the Brother’s visit, as it seemed to be the right time for some who are beginning to see, and others who are willing to hear. We feel like much good has been accomplished here, and would like to have him come every year, or oftener, but want him to go where he can do the most good, and expect to do more to help send him. Pray for us that we may grow in grace and hold out faithful to the end.
Indianola, Ia.—Five met on Thursday evening to celebrate the Memorial Supper. I think we all realized a blessing in a renewal of our consecration and consequent obligation. May the Lord help and keep all his own everywhere.
St. Petersburg, Fla.—About fourteen rejoiced in commemorating the Lord’s last Supper, and a very delightful meeting it was. We all felt the necessity of a closer walk with God, more love for Christ and the brethren, a fuller dependence on God’s promises and a more careful watch, lest the enemy tempt us from the “faith once delivered to the saints.” Our Norwegian brethren thought best to partake by themselves.
Huron, S.D.—Last night six of us met to remember our Lord’s death “until he come,” and to renew our covenant with him. After prayer we read John 6:31-57; 1 Cor. 10:16,17 and 11:27-30. Sweetly the Lord met with us. I never felt the force and beauty of the symbol so much before, and I believe that was the experience of all. Our hearts burned within us. May we be kept willing to be led.
Philadelphia, Pa.—The Church here observed the Memorial Supper last evening. About 40 partook of the emblems, and 8 (4 brethren and 4 sisters) symbolized their consecration into Christ’s death by immersion.
Bethlehem, Pa.—Our little meeting here last evening proved a season of sweet refreshing to all present. There were 13, and our dear Redeemer seemed very near and dear to us. We were greatly strengthened and blessed, especially as we realized that all the Lord’s people everywhere were meeting for the same purpose and praying for one another. May we be kept humble, and constantly watch and pray!
Columbus, O.—Our little band met last night to remember the anniversary of our Lord’s death on our behalf. We had a very interesting and profitable waiting on the Lord, and many expressed themselves as having been refreshed and edified. 27 partook of the emblems, 6 of our class being absent, but we had 5 from adjoining towns. We felt that the influence of the Lord was present. All seemed to feel deeply the solemnity of the occasion, and yet every face seemed joyful, as if while sympathising with our Lord in his suffering, they could not help rejoicing over the result to both himself and to us and to the world. We remembered all the little bands of like precious faith and felt that we were remembered by others.
New York City.—The Church here held the meeting in commemoration of the Lord’s death.
A devotional meeting preceded, beginning at 6.30 and closing at 8 P.M., which proved a genuine feast of spiritual food and a fitting preparation for the principal service. About sixty were present, including
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some from neighboring localities. The Lord was there and blessed us wonderfully, as he is constantly with us, teaching, leading and sustaining us in every condition, according to his promise, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age.”
Dinwiddie County, Va.—I humbly trust I may never count the blood of my Redeemer a worthless thing or cast off the covering of his name. We read for our Memorial lesson the 13, 14 and 15 chapters of John. They contain much for prayerful thought and study. The love of the Savior is most touchingly manifested in his tender solicitude for his disciples and his words of counsel to them, even though troubled that his hour was so near at hand. We partook of the emblems realizing that we were again renewing our covenant to be faithful unto death.
Cambuslang, Scotland.—Fourteen Christians met here last night to commemorate the Lord’s death, and it was a time of great blessing. I believe we all felt the Lord’s presence with great power.
Iowa.—I am still seeking to serve the Master to the best of my ability. I intended to meet with a few brethren and sisters at __________ for the celebration of the death of our dear Lord, but circumstances did not favor; but the dear Lord permitted me to partake of the emblems alone, and I had a precious, soul-refreshing feast.
Boston, Mass.—The work is progressing grandly under our great Captain. At the Memorial fifty-three were present, and it was a season of sweet communion with Christ. The Sunday previous eight (seven sisters and one brother) were immersed. We obtained the use of the Disciples’ church. Every one of these dear people give evidence of full consecration to God.
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N. Indianapolis, Ind.—Brother Wise conducted the services here, and it was a very blessed service—21 present, most, if not all, of whom have made a public consecration of themselves, their lives, their all, to God, through the beautiful and appropriate symbol of water baptism.
Linton, Ind.—Twenty to twenty-five, the majority of whom had never before seen the real import of this Memorial, nor the propriety of celebrating it but once a year, commemorated the death of “the Lamb of God.”
Los Posas, Cal.—We had a precious season at the Memorial Supper. There were twelve present—the same number as last year. We felt drawn nearer to the Master and to each other in Christian fellowship.
Scranton, Pa.—We had a very precious season of spiritual communion at the recent celebration of the Memorial Supper. Twenty were present—eight more than last year. We are seeking to grow more and more in the grace as well as in the knowledge of our Lord.
Grass Valley, Cal.—Five of us partook of the Memorial Supper, feeling our own unworthiness, the value of the covering of the precious blood and resolved to live nearer than ever to our blessed Lord. Two were immersed.
Oakland, Md.—We enjoyed a very pleasant season of communion on the occasion of the Memorial Supper celebration. Twenty-four were present, and about one-half the number partook of the emblems of our Lord’s broken body and shed blood. It was an impressive service—the most so far of any ever enjoyed by us here.
— May 1, 1897 —
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