The Spiritual Blessings of the Gospel Represented by a Feast because it Shows the Communion of the Saints.


Tuesdays with Edwards!

Sometime between August 1728 and February 1729 Edwards preached The Spiritual Blessings of the Gospel Represented by a Feast based on Luke 14:16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper and bade many. My Tuesdays with Edwards posts have been looking at the ways which show “how gospel provision is well represented by a feast.”

Edwards showed how he saw this:

in the expensiveness of gospel blessings,

in the free offer of it,

as it nourishes the soul as food does the body,

because of the excellency of it,

by the abundance and variety of it,

and by the friendship of those that feast together.

Today’s post looks at a seventh parallel.

You can read this sermon in its entirety at www.edwards.yale.edu. This selection is from Sermons and Discourses, 1723-1729, ed. Kenneth P. Minkema, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 14 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997) Pages 286-287.

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But we shall show in some particular instances how gospel provision is well represented by a feast….

VII. The communion of saints is represented by a feast. The word “communion,” as it is used in Scripture, signifies a common partaking of some good. Thus we read of the communion of the body of Christ and the communion of the blood of Christ, that is, the common partaking of his body and blood. Therefore, as in a feast they all have communion in the same fare with the host and with the other guests, so Christians have communion with Jesus: they partake of the same Spirit, of the same holiness and the same happiness; they are members of Christ’s body and partake of the same life with the head; they are branches in him and partake of the same sap and nourishment with the vine. Christ and believers are partakers of the same Spirit. Christ has the Spirit not by measure, and they have of the same Spirit by measure [John 3:34]. Christ has all fullness of grace in him, and believers have grace for grace [John 1:16].

Christ eats of the same feast with believers, and he eats with them. They sit with the king at his table (Canticles 1:12). Christ tells us that if we will open the door, he will come in and sup with us, and we with him (Revelation 3:20). Christ sat with his disciples at his first sacrament, which signifies that he always has communion with them in the same spiritual blessings. In Canticles 5:1 we read first of Christ’s eating and then commanding his friends to eat: “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.” And believers are also partakers of the same glory with Jesus Christ. They shall sit with him in his throne.

Believers also in the gospel feast have communion one with another. They all partake of that one bread. They have one Lord, [one] faith, one baptism. All drink into one Spirit, are all united together by partaking of the same influence of the same head. ‘Tis one Spirit that unites them all, so that they make but one body.

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