Imatges de pàgina

us unto himself. We commemorate at the holy table, the sacrifice of that Lamb of God whose blood cleanseth from all sin. Participating with true penitence and faith of the bread and wine of the altar, we partake spiritually of the blessings which that offering of his body and blood procured for us; and one of the principal blessings purchased for us by the offering of this body and blood, is pardon, full and free pardon, of all the sins which we have confessed and renounced.

Oh! then, let us approach unto the holy table, as unto that mercy-seat where God hath promised to meet us, to dispense pardon to every penitent offender. Surely we cannot be insensible of our need of forgiveness; surely we cannot think that we have not so sinned as to have rendered ourselves obnoxious to the displeasure of the righteous Sovereign of the universe-not so sinned as to need, in humility and penitence, to supplicate forgiveness from our offended Maker. Let our hearts and our lives, my brethren, answer. Have we sincerely and supremely revered, loved, and served him, who is the all-glorious and perfect Author of our being, the gracious Preserver and Benefactor of our lives, the merciful Redeemer of our soulswho is supremely worthy of our reverence, love, and service? Have we always faithfully fulfilled the laws of justice, of benevolence, and of mercy? Have we never transgressed the rules of temperance, of purity, of meekness, of humility, of forbearance, of forgiveness?

Who among us, brethren, will say that he is pure from the stains of sin? Who among us will avow that he can stand, were God to sit in judgment upon him? And if we have transgressed, we surely

need the forgiveness of that almighty Being whom we have offended, in whose hands we are, at whose tribunal we must render an account. Let us go then to that holy table, humble, penitent, and grateful, and its sacred symbols will assure us of the full remission of our sins, of peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. We approach God, in the holy supper, as our reconciled God and Father, and are assured of our restoration to his love and favour.

The sacramental elements are pledges not only of pardon, but of the love and favour of that almighty Being with whom, through sin, we were in a state of enmity. Do you doubt the value of this blessing of restoration to the favour of God? Contemplate then your condition in a state of impenitence and sin. Obnoxious to the wrath of the dread Sovereign whom you have offended; subject to the remorse and fears of guilt; anticipating still more dreadful punishment in that future world where the retribution of the Eternal overtakes the transgressors of his laws-do you look up to the throne of an almighty Judge? Justice pronounces your condemnation-" The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Do you look forward to a day of account? You hear the sentence-"Depart from me."

But the holy table holds forth the pledges of mercy and grace, and inspires peace and hope. Its sacred symbols assure to those who in faith partake of them, the gracious promise" I will be their God, and they shall be my people." It is the voice of the Lord of heaven and earth which speaks in the memorials of the body and blood of his Son-" I will be your God." In all difficulties,

I will be your Guide; through all dangers, your Protector; in all trials, your Comforter; under all changes, your Friend, your Father, never leaving you, nor forsaking you. By my mercy you shall be refreshed; by my grace sanctified and comforted; by my power protected. All things shall work together for your good. The sense of my favour shall accompany all the bounties of my providence, and exalt their enjoyment to you. In the trials of life you shall behold the hand of a gracious and tender Father; and your faith and your patience shall shine forth with bright and glorious lustre. The darkness of adversity shall be enlightened by those hopes which are inspired by confidence in the wisdom and goodness of your God, the Lord and Ruler of all things; and even death, appalling to frail nature, and bearing dismay and wo to the sinner, shall to you be stripped of his terrors; for to you he shall come the messenger that summons you from the sins and sorrows of the world to endless glory and bliss. "I will be your God." Realize, penitent and faithful Christians, the full import of this promise; realize that so certainly as in penitence and faith you partake of the symbols of the body and blood of your Lord, the power, the mercy, the grace of your heavenly Father are pledged for your guidance, your comfort, your salvation. Realize all this, and offer at that holy table, which assures these blessings to you, the vows of love and duty to your God; for the offering of yourselves, your souls and bodies, a living sacrifice to him, is still an inadequate tribute for those blessings of reconciliation, and peace, and joy, which in this holy ordinance he assures to you.

3. God, whom we approach with penitence and faith in the holy supper, assures to us, by the symbols of the body and blood of his Son, life eternal.

These sacred elements, conveying to us the power of the body and blood which they represent, nourish and strengthen us to everlasting life; they are the pledges not only of the guidance, the protection and favour of our heavenly Father while we sojourn upon earth, but of blessings beyond the grave; assuring us, in the language of the expressive office of the church, that we are heirs, through hope, of his heavenly kingdom. Jesus Christ, by his death, hath destroyed death; and by his rising to life again, hath restored to us everlasting life-opening the kingdom of heaven to all believers. He hath instituted in his holy supper, memorials of these his spiritual triumphs, pledges of these his eternal blessings. The bread and the wine, symbols of the body and blood of him who is the resurrection and the life, divine power makes the pledges that our bodies, sinful and frail as they are by nature, shall be purified, nourished, and exalted to everlasting life.

My Christian brethren, we receive at the holy table the pledges that God will not only be here the strength of our hearts, but hereafter our portion for ever. Let us then, when we partake of the holy elements, realize, by faith, the immortal privileges which they assure to us; let us rejoice in the confidence, that if, in true penitence and lively faith, we partake of that holy sacrament, and continue to do those good works which God has prepared for us to walk in, the blessings of eternal life shall certainly be ours-the sorrows of time shall be succeeded by the glories of eternity. Ad

mitted into the holy presence of God in heaven, we shall unceasingly adore him, and be filled with ecstacy at the contemplation of his perfections, his works, and his dispensations. In that heavenly kingdom of which we are heirs, we shall be united in visible and endless communion with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for ever contemplate and adore him in the splendour of his glorified human nature, and for ever derive from him the fulness of felicity. In this church triumphant we shall also be associated with the host of angels and archangels; with the blessed company of prophets, and apostles, and martyrs; with the spirits of the just made perfect. Corruption having put on incorruption, and mortal immortality, and our vile bodies changed and fashioned like unto the glorified body of the Redeemer, we shall again see, and know, and love all those whose Christian virtues here excited our admiration, and with whom we were here united in the bands of Christian affection and fellowship.

Oh! in this view, what a source of joy and consolation, raising us above the empty pleasures, and leading us to disregard the comparatively light afflictions of the present life, is the supper of our Lord! Its divine memorials are pledges to us of all that our souls in their most eager aspirations can desire, of all that can contribute to our perfection and bliss through the ages of eternity.

These are not visionary speculations, enthusiastic and unfounded hopes: they are the sober truths of God's word. This word assures us that the body and blood of Christ purchased our redemption; and that they who worthily partake of the bread and the cup, are partakers of the body and VOL. II.


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