« AnteriorContinua »
hearts sink within us while we read the words. He has suffered for us, he has saved us, he lives for us in heaven: He has given us all he has—He has given us himself-our present life and our eternal joy; and must we be reminded-must we have signs and emblems to waken our memory and warm our hearts? -He knew it: and He provided themHe even requires of us this memorial of his death, lest the world forget that he has visited to save, and will return to reign. But we do not care about it—we do not understand itwe are afraid to take it, and we will let it alone. Lamb of God, whatever reason we have to be afraid, we shall not find it in the memory of thee! There had been nothing seen of thee but love-nothing heard or known of thee but goodness-not one repulsive look to them that sought thee-not one refusal to them that asked thy help-not a word of discouragement even to thy enemies, if they would turn to thee again: they who rejected thee were repaid with tears; and they who crucified thee only with thy prayers. And there has been no change. “As oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death till he come.” The lion of the tribe of Judah is not in the feast-the judge, the avenger is not there; but“ in the midst of the throne a Lamb as it had been slain"-touched with the
feeling of our infirmities-waiting to be gracious—“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
ON THE BENEFITS EXHIBITED AND RECEIVED
IN THE LORD'S SUPPER.
“GREAT is the mystery of godliness! God manifest in the flesh!” With entire submission of the intellect to the dictum of Scripture, with the simplicity of a little child, that comes not to argue with its teachers, but to learn; with the lowliness of one who is of yesterday and knows nothing, willing to become a fool that he may be wise, we approach, and invite others to approach this great incompassable mystery. If there be any of a higher mind, they need not follow us, for we cannot help them. Reason puts itself to silence at the outset, and thenceforward has no more to say; for it tells me that the less cannot comprehend the greater; that the finite cannot compass the infinite; that there is not, and never can be a work of God perfectly and entirely understood by human intellect. If it be said that God can reveal it to us: He does reveal to us what we could not discover of his doings, to the extent that our understandings can embrace. Or, He can give us understanding: He does give us understanding in a measure, and he increases the measure
continually by impartation from himself; and perhaps will go on increasing it through all eternity; but it will be the understanding of the creature still, never commensurate with his own, and therefore, I conceive, never sufficient to the perfect comprehension of his works. In heaven we shall be spirits, but we shall not be gods. There are mysteries of God which angels do not know-and-itself a mystery at which we bow our heads in acquiescent wonder —there was a secret which the co-eqnal Son of God declared He did not know; because, as touching his manhood he was inferior to the Father, and took upon him, as I suppose, in the season of his humiliation, something of the limitation of finite being. Proud disputants! climb to the lofty summit of the mountains, and tell us what you see: cities, and plains, and rivers spreading wide, an expanse inconceivable to them upon the plain. And what beyond? Relate whence comes the river, and whither goes it. A barrier impenetrable bounds your vision, and other mountains intercept your view. Leave the earth then, and go with the aeronaut beyond the clouds; hundreds of miles lie now exposed before you, and nothing intervenes to bar your vision. Tell us what is doing in all that space, so curiously brought within your ken. The space is very wide and very wonderful, but your eyes can distinguish nothing; beyond a cartain limit, it lies an unfeatured
mass, of which you can tell nothing but that there it is. Let us be ashamed for our assumption and insubmission. God has raised us from the midnight ignorance of our fallen nature, and given us to see his holy purpose of redemption; he has revealed to us the plan and method of salvation, and given us to understand its progress, and foresee its blessed issue. He has expanded our finite vision beyond the beginning or the end of time, back to the triune Jehovah's covenant to redeem, and forward to the eternal bliss of the redeemed. But it is the creature's eye that is brought to gaze upon the Creator's discovered purpose—the bounded, limited capacity of a mortal man, that is to scan this revelation of the mysteries of God. Well might we stand at once confounded and amazed-silenced and enraptured, abased and satisfied at once, and with Job exclaim, “ Mine eye hath seen thee, behold I am vile.” Enough indeed has been revealed to satisfy every feeling and occupy every faculty of our souls; straining the longing eyes to catch a further glimpse as the light of grace arises on the immensitude. Natural reason sees nothing, absolutely nothing, of wisdom; or love, or justice, in the vicarious sufferings of Jesus Christ, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness; too improbable to be taken upon credit, and too ureasonable to bear examination. Sooner than contend with an unbeliever on this ground, I