« EdellinenJatka »
believers. Enter in, come boldly to the throne of grace: and you will then taste and see what God hath prepared for those who seek for him in holiness.
It is said, that all men would become religious, if they really saw what religion was. And such is my belief. For religion, holiness, and happiness, are one and the same thing. It is not that religion implies the leading what men, in general, would call a happy life. Nay, on the contrary, the mind, which contains within it the seeds of endless blessedness, may be exposed to the roughest waves, and hardest trials, of this uncertain life. This, I grant, may appear strange to many. But let us keep in mind, that man contains within himself the principles of two natures; one of which is of this perishable earth, while its companion is the offspring and native of the skies. It is only when we live to this latter-only when we sow to the Spirit-only when we set our affections on things above-that we can know how immutably it is fixed in the eternal constitution of things, and by the irreversible decree of God, that holiness and happiness are the same for ever. Yes these streams may be separated for a time; -they may be often divided from one another, while passing through the desert of this troublesome world: but holiness and happiness must, at
last, unite; and flow, in one tide of glory, throughout eternity. To know this, is part of man's immortal nature: and he who feels it, has passed from death unto life. He can see the end of all things under the sun approaching, not only without dismay, but with exceeding joy. He can rejoice in tribulation. While all abroad is dark and lowering, he can enjoy a clear sunshine in his own breast. While storms are sweeping, and tempests are hurling devastation around him; within he can experience that peace of God, which passeth all understanding. He stands unmoved, while every earthly blessing-health, reputation, fortune, all that bound him to the world-go down in one scale: for in the other scale, his hopes are all ascending to those celestial mansions, whither his Saviour and forerunner is gone before.
These, my brethren, are the true riches of the soul. These graces are the tokens of God's coveThese are the laurels which adorn the brows, of those who fight and conquer, in the battles of the cross. These are the treasures of the gospel. These are the triumphs of the pure in heart; their joy and peace in believing. O my beloved brethren, make these blessings yours. Be ye holy for the Lord your God is holy.
ST. LUKE, Xxii. 19.
"THIS DO, IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME."
FROM my selection of these words, you will at once perceive, that I mean to occupy your attention, with some observations on the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. But into any general reflections on the history and peculiar nature of this institution, I do not propose to enter. My present object is, in few words, and very plainly, to notice some of the causes, which lead professing Christians to absent themselves from the holy table.
But before I proceed, it may be well to make two brief remarks.
I. That through the entire of this discourse, I wholly exclude the case of those who, from any peculiar opinions, or theoretical scruples, withdraw from the holy communion. I address myself to those alone, who profess themselves regular members of the Established Church. And of such I will take occasion to say, that I never knew one
who, on becoming sincerely religious, did not also become a constant communicant.
II. That I consider the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper to be, in a remarkable manner, an outward and visible sign, not only of the body and blood of Christ, but of Christianity altogether; and, consequently, that as a man stands affected towards the one, he will stand affected towards the other. I should wish this thought to be kept in view, without a distinct recurrence to it, in all the following observations; that so it may serve as a pulse or touch-stone, by which our spiritual condition may be ascertained.
One impediment to a regular attendance at the Lord's table is, I fear, that some, though I trust but few, are living in known and wilful sin. Are there, then, any now here present, who stand in so awful a predicament? any open violaters of the Divine Law? any in overt rebellion against the Majesty of Heaven? If any such be here, assuredly you are right, in not approaching the memorials of a Saviour's love. But why should I say right? For every thing must be wrong in a course of sin. It is not, I grant, at all inconsistent or unaccountable, that a man who is at variance with his God, should turn away from that sacred ordinance; nor that he should do this from a superstitious notion, that under its myste
rious veil, his great enemy might lie in ambush. But sin, in all its doubles and contrivances, is but complicated infatuation. For does the sinner, who thus blindly venerates the Sacrament, and lives in mad defiance of its author and its institutor, think that rite holier than God? Or does he imagine that He, whose dying love is set forth in those memorials, so hovers round the holy table, as to be located to the spot, and withdrawn from every other? When, in flat disobedience to Christ's commands, he takes his invitation to communicate as the signal for departure, does he remember that the place on which he measures every step, is holy ground? Does he not know that, when he turns his back upon the Sacrament, his face is still towards God; that God's presence is around him, and his eye upon him?
But he will say, perhaps, "It would be but adding hypocrisy to my other crimes, if I performed an act, which pledges me to the renunciation of sins to which I intend to cleave." I answer: You are pledged already-you are not at liberty to choose; neither are you your own master. Willing or unwilling, you are within the bonds of the covenant. You swore allegiance at your baptism. You are, in every sense that implies accountability, a Christian and from you much will be required. Think not, then, that the Sacrament would bind