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Verse 26

Matthew 26:26. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread The bread, or cake, which the master of the family used to divide among them, after they had eaten the passover. This custom our Lord now transferred to a nobler use. This bread is, that is, signifies or represents, my body, according to the style of the sacred writers. Thus Genesis 40:12, The three branches are three days. Thus Galatians 4:24, St. Paul, speaking of Sarah and Hagar, says, These are the two covenants. Thus in the grand type of our Lord, Exodus 12:11, God says of the paschal lamb, This is the Lord’s passover. Now Christ, substituting the holy communion for the passover, follows the style of the Old Testament, and uses the same expressions the Jews were wont to use in celebrating the passover. “When I consider,” says Dr. Doddridge, “that, on the same foundation on which the Papists argue for transubstantiation from these words, they might prove from Ezekiel 5:1-5, that the prophet’s hair was the city of Jerusalem; from John 10:9; John 15:1, that Christ was literally a door and a vine; from Matthew 26:27-28, and 1 Corinthians 11:25, that the cup was his blood, and that Christ commanded his disciples to drink and swallow the cup; I cannot but be astonished at the inference they would deduce from hence. Had Irenæus or Epiphanius reported such a thing of any sect of ancient heretics, now extinct, one would have been so candid to human nature as to suppose the historian misinformed. As it is, one is almost tempted to suspect it to be the effect of arrogance rather than error; and to consider it as a mere insolent attempt to show the world, in the strongest instance they could invent, what monstrous things the clergy should dare to say, which the wretched laity should not dare to contradict; nay, which they should be forced to pretend they believed. In this view the thought is admirable, and worthy the most malicious wit that ever lorded it over the heritage of God. But it may deserve some serious reflection, whether it be not an instance of infatuation to which God has given them up, that it may be a plain mark to all, that will use common sense, of the grossest error in a church which claims infallibility; and may not be intended by Providence as a kind of antidote against the rest of its poison.”

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