Page images

keep Christ's death in remembrance, will assuredly find himself grow weary in well doing; the world will be too much for him, his love will wax cold, and when the Son of Man does come, shall he find any faith lingering in the heart of this careless servant?

Our work is set before us, with the words, "Occupy till I come;" the communion of his body and blood is set before us, with the words, “As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."" Ye do shew the Lord's death till he come," you recall to your own minds, you bear witness to those who believe not, of that night, when Jesus was betrayed, when he endured his agony, of that day when he laid down his life for our sakes. Believe me, most divine as is the wisdom of his preaching, most rich in all the treasures of spiritual knowledge as are his discourses and his parables, yet they cannot be rightly valued, they will not bring forth their proper fruit, unless we do full often recall to our minds the still diviner lesson of his sufferings and death. This it is, which learnt, I do not say perfectly, for who has ever found out all that is contained in it? but which learnt sincerely, and up to the measure of our faculties, will be better than all other

teaching in the world. This will tell us of life and of death, of sin and of forgiveness, of judgment and of mercy. This speaks louder than any thing else can do, to bid us love one another as Christ has loved us. This sweeps away the fond imaginations in which we wrap ourselves, of our own worthiness, and dignity, and nobleness; of our high reaching faculties and steadfast purposes; for it tells us that if One died for all, then were all without him dead.

To be convinced in our understandings that this is true; to perceive that faith in the blood of Christ has naturally that great moral power which the Scripture ascribes to it; that it does far beyond all other doctrines tend not to make void, but to establish the law,-this does not seem to me to be difficult: but to advance the one step further, and to have this faith ourselves; to feel from our own experience what before, from the nature of man in general and the plain tendencies of the christian doctrine, we knew intellectually; this is, indeed, an object for the best labours and the heartiest prayers of us all. We shall be called upon on Sunday next to show forth the Lord's death, by breaking the bread and drinking the cup of christian communion. Let us eat of that

bread and drink of that cup for this very object, to bring home to our hearts Christ's death in all its meaning and power. And let us think, too, that its purpose being to keep alive within us the remembrance of Christ's death, we should neglect no opportunity of joining in it; feeling that there is no surer sign of the imperfect state of christian dispositions amongst us, than the rare intervals in the year at which we are now accustomed to communicate. I believe I am correct in saying, that down to the fifth century after Christ, the communion was partaken of by all Christians whom the discipline of the church had not forbidden to share in it, on every occasion of public worship. And now we think it much, in small congregations, if half of the people partake in it four times in the year. True, we may be thankful that the number of those in this congregation who do partake of it, seems increasing; we may and ought to be thankful for this. But O that it would increase much more, and steadily! that they to whom God has given grace once to come to Christ's holy table, would never again turn away from it; that it should not be thought enough to come once! Even of common things there are few, of which being once

reminded in the course of five months, would be of much use to us; but feeling how apt we are to forget, and how greatly it concerns us to remember, we should avail ourselves of every opportunity that is offered, being well assured that we shall not, after all, have one too many! Let us come then to Christ's table, to be helped towards keeping him in our memories; that we may bear about with us in our minds the dying of the Lord Jesus, that in our minds the life of the Lord Jesus may be made manifest also.



[Preached on the First Sunday after Trinity.]

JOHN XIV. 16, 17.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of Truth.

THESE words, when first heard, may seem to belong more properly to the service of the festival of Whitsunday, which has been so lately commemorated by the church, than to that of this day. Doubtless they do belong to that former service also, for they describe the very event which that festival is intended to keep in memory. But there is one particular part in them which seems to be peculiarly fitted for our consideration to-day. The Comforter given on the day of Pentecost, was to abide with the Church for ever; not after the same manner as he was on that day manifested; not with signs and wonders, to cause

« PreviousContinue »