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Published by glennpease

" And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives." — Matthew xxvi. 30.

" And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives." — Matthew xxvi. 30.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 10, 2013
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THE SON OF MAN SINGSBY SAMUEL COXI.— SACRAMENTS." And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into theMount of Olives." — Matthew xxvi. 30.The Lord Jesus, the same night on which He wasbetrayed, kept the feast of the Passover with his disciples,and instituted our Paschal feast, the Sacrament of theSupper. Many sorrowful forebodings were uttered inthat upper room, many earnest supplications. Butsorrow and prayer were not permitted to excludethanksgiving and song. Not until " they had sung ahymn," or psalm, did they go out into the garden onthe slope of Olivet.Nor is it difficult to identify the hymn they sang;for we cannot doubt that He who kept the Feast as theJews were wont to keep it, sang the hymn which theywere wont to sing. Even as given by Moses the Paschalceremony was prolonged and elaborate ; but the rabbishad added many observances to the original rite. Moseshad enjoined the Jews to eat the Passover standing, withtheir loins girt, their sandals on their feet, their staves2i8 THE SON OF MAN SINGS.in their hands, as men who were about to be thrust outof the land, as men to whom the feast was the signal fora long and perilous flight. In after ages this posturewas altered, so altered as to bring it into correspondencewith their altered circumstances. At their ordinary
meals the Jews either sat as we do, or, more commonly,reclined on couches, like the Greeks and Romans. Buton the night of the Passover they thought it indecorousto sit at meat. They held themselves bound to lie oncouches, and thus to mark the freedom, composure, andleisurely festal joy of the time. Nor can there be anydoubt that our Lord conformed to this custom. He didnot eat standing and in haste, but reclining, ungirt andunsandalled, on a couch ; as we learn from the disputeamong the disciples on the washing of the feet, and fromthe fact that, during the Feast, John "leaned upon hisbosom," i.e,^ reclined next to Him upon the couch of honour.So, again. He sanctioned the use of wine at the Feast,although t/tatj so far from being part of the originalinstitution, was alien to its spirit, although it rested simplyon the Rabbinical authority, which decreed that even" the poorest man in Israel was bound to drink off fourcups of wine that night, yea, though he lived off thealms basket."So, once more, with the singing of a Psalm, or Psalms.This was no part of the Mosaic ordinance. It was notlikely, it would not have been appropriate, that menwho were waiting for the smiting of all the first-born of Egypt, and who were to take that terrible " plague " asSACRAMENTS. 219the signal for their perilous flight into the Wilderness,should break forth into loud hymns of praise. But inafter ages, in our Lord's time, the Jews made conscienceof singing the cxiii. and five following Psalms, chantingthe first two of them at the commencement, and thelatter four at the close of the Feast. These Psalms,
called collectively The Hallel, were selected because theywere held to celebrate the Exodus from Egypt, theDividing of the Red Sea, the Giving of the Law, theResurrection of the Dead, and the Lot of the Messias.That is to say, they were selected because they celebratedthe deliverance from the Egyptian bondage into theliberty of God's service, and because they spake of thatbetter Exodus, the deliverance from the bondage of death into the freedom and power of life everlasting.The solemnity concluded, therefore, with the joyfulwords : " Thou art my God, and I will praise thee ;thou art my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks untothe Lord, for he is good ; for his mercy endureth forever." And just as in other respects, so also in this,our Lord appears to have conformed to the traditionalcustoms of the Feast. Before He and his disciples leftthe room in which they had kept the Passover, theysang a hymn ; and this hymn was composed, as allcritics agree, of the closing strains of the Jewish Hallel.In keeping the Passover, then, the Lord Jesus sang ahymn simply because it was the custom of the Feast,although the custom could plead no Divine command.He drank wine with his disciples, although that againwas no part of the original institute. He reclined on a220 THE SON OF MAN SINGS,couch, and lingered long over the feast, although Moseshad expressly commanded that it should be eaten stand-ing and in haste. In all these respects at least Hedeparted from the ordinance given by Moses, althoughno Divine word had ever repealed or modified thatordinance or the method of its observance.All these innovations, moreover, tended in one direc-tion. They were not only modifications, departuresfrom the ancient ceremonial ; they were, apparently,opposed to its very spirit. That expressed agitation,

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