« AnteriorContinuar »
heathen festivals in honour of the retired from it to our home, and in the gods, prostituted it to the lowest sweet solitude of the closet sung :ends. Popery has for ages made it
“When to the cross I turn my eyes, a perpetual sacrifice for sin. In this
And rest on Calvary, Protestant country it has been grossly O Lamb of God, my sacrifice ! misunderstood and misapplied. Until
I must remember thee ;a few years ago it was the sine qua
“Remember thee and all thy pains,
And all thy love to me ; non to all places of power and
Yea, while a breath or pulse remains, emolument under government; and Will I remember thee. “the sacrament,” as it is termed, is yet “And when these failing lips grow dumb, given to malefactors prior to execution, And mind and memory flee, and persons about to die. All such
When thou shalt in thy kingdom come,
Jesus, remember me." purposes are violations of its original design.
b. It was intended to teach the Saviour's a. It was instituted that as often as atoning work. “Take, eat ; this is my believers observe it they may remember body which is given for you. For this Jesus. “ This do in remembrance of is my blood of the New Testament, me.” Luke xxii. 19. Paul, in his refer- which is shed for many for the remission ence to the supper, quotes the precise
of sing." “For as often as ye eat this words. It is as if the Master had said, bread and drink this cup ye do show “I shall not long be with you. I am the Lord's death till he come.” From about to return whence I came. Do these passages it is evident that Christ not forget me. Let this rite which I intended to represent in the supper the now establish call me to your recol
vicarious character of his work. It lection. As often as you observe it, teaches us the fact of his death, for of think how I lived with you and loved you this it is a perpetual witness. It teaches -how I instructed you and died for you. us the manner of his death, for the bread Take this as a parting gift, and cherish broken sets forth his body bruised, and it in your hearts for ever.” It “is the wine poured out his blood shed. It like," says Flavel, “a ring plucked off teaches us the design of his death, for from Christ's finger, or a bracelet from without shedding of blood there is no his arm, or rather his picture from his remission. As in preaching we declare breast, delivered to us with such words in words and to the ear the grand as these, “As oft as you look to this doctrine of the Christian atonement; remember me. Let this help to keep so in this ceremonial we declare by me alive in your remembrance, when I symbols the same doctrine to the eye. am gone and out of your sight.” The truth taught is one ; it is the mode of Brethren! what an appropriate me- teaching alone which differs. The supper morial it is ! how well it has served its is through all ages an exposition of the end ! How often, amid the thick of passage, “Christ died for our sins.” Let worldly cares and the enticement of me see therefore in this institution all vanities, has it collected the wandering which the Lord's death declares. Let affections of the soul and centered them me learn the purity of the Divine law; on Jesus! How often has the sight of the evil of sin ; the holiness, justice, it stirred up the dying embers of our wisdom, and grace of God; the love of love and kindled them to an ardent my Redeemer. Let me see here the flame! How often has it filled us method of my pardon; the fountain for with recollections too large and tender my pollution ; the balm for all my for utterance ! How often have we sorrows; my hope for heaven.
c. It was intended to guide our faith | body of Christ ? For we being many to the Lord's second appearance. "Till are one bread and one body : for we he come.” One of the most interesting are all partakers of that one bread." aspects of the supper is this. It con- 1 Cor. x. 16, 17. We attend to it as to nects Christ the crucified one with a family festival. In it we all show Christ the glorified—the dying sufferer ourselves members of one great comwith the reigning, judging Lord. While munity of which the head is Christ. We it turns us backward to behold all that identify ourselves with the whole body Jesus endured, it invites us to look for- of the faithful; and teach the world that ward also to all the glories in which he however we may differ in our views is to be robed. It assures us that he concerning certain subordinate matters who once was here, though we saw him of Christian doctrine and practice, yet not, will again appear among men; that we are all one in Christ. May the time he will wear our nature ; that he shall soon arrive when the world shall see the be glorified in his saints and admired oneness and believe! When a really among all them that believe; and that united church shall be the answer of we shall reign with him then. What a that prayer with which our Lord closed thrilling thought! What a stay for the the institution of this supper, “ That soul driven hither and thither by the they all may be one ; that the world storms of life! What a light in dark- may believe that thou hast sent me!" ness! What a well-spring of ever-living e. It was designed to be a valuable joy! Sorrowing believer! Approach auxiliary in the divine life. All divine the table of thy Lord with thankfulness arrangements have this for their end. and hope! Thy heart is bitter as gall. While we disclaim every thing like Thy troubles descend on thee as sweep- sacramental efficacy, yet we deet it ing hail. Weary and sore-footed thou possible to go too far in another direcwalkest from day to day. Friends are tion. We believe that in the Lord's few. Sympathy is slow and chary of supper ás in baptism, or any other act its relief. And to swell the whole, of divine service or worship, there is an Satan and thy sins distress thee. See, adaptation to promote the spiritual brother, in that bread and wine a good of the receiver ; the good, howpledge that the Friend who died for thee ever, depending not on the person who has not forgotten thee, and that he will administers it, nor on the ordinance itcome again. Here his voice speaking self, but on the state of mind of the through those emblems, " Till I come.' receiver at the time. It serves to deepen Patiently, joyfully endure all the Lord our views of the enormity of sin-tó may appoint; "for thou shalt rest, and enlarge our conceptions of the Divine stand in thy lot at the end of the days." character-to humble us before the "And it shall be said in that day, Lo, throne of God—to fill our hearts with this is our God; we have waited for divine love, and to securé à general him, and he will save ús: this is the advancement of the spiritual life. The Lord ; we have waited for him, we will Lord's supper," says an old writer, "is be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” a medicine to the diseased and languish
d. It was intended to set forth the ing soul; and therefore men must as fellowship we have with Christ and with well seek to purify and heal their hearts one another. “The cup of blessing which in it, as to bring pure and sound hearts we bless, is it not the communion of the to it.”* All who rightly approach the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the
table can well understand the lines of the Lord. But let a man examine himBatty :
self, and so let him eat of that bread
and drink of that cup. For he that “Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,
eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth Which before the cross I spend ; Life, and health, and peace possessing,
and drinketh damnation to himself, not From the sinner's dying Friend."
discerning the Lord's body." 1 Cor. xi.
27–29. All believers are to receive Such we consider are the uses of the the elements in both kinds ; and unless Lord's supper. With the remaining they are thus received the institution is questions we must be still more brief. observed unscripturally.
II. How Long WAS THIS INSTITUTION IV. WITH WHAT SPIRIT SHOULD WE DESIGNED TO CONTINUE? The language APPROACH TO THE TABLE OF THE LORD? of the apostle is sufficiently explicit and Confessing before God all our şindecisive. “Till he come.” It is not a cherishing a profound sense of our local rite ; having reference to one age, absolute indebtedness to Divine grace or one class of persons. It is of per- for our salvation-exercising a lively petual and universal obligation. The faith in the Saviour whose work the frequency of its observance, and other ordinance represents:— renewing our details having reference to the mode of vows of consecration to his serviceits celebration may be left to the views imploring a fresh supply of strength to and circumstances of the church ; but do and suffer his will—waiting for his the perpetuity of the institution is second coming to judge the world and placed by scripture beyond dispute. gather his saints together, and anWherever Christianity may push her ticipating the day when with all the conquests · wherever believers may redeemed we shall enjoy his presence establish themselves—whatever circum- through everlasting ages. stances may surround them, and what- The reader will thank us for closing ever changes may take place in the polity this article with another passage from and discipline of the church, this part Flavel—a passage with which he of her constitution must remain intact. closes one of his own discourses-and It is to be coeval with the present dis- which is fragrant with the odour of pensation, abiding " till he come.” Christ; “Here is an ordinance to pre
III, WHO ARE THE PROPER PARTIES serve his remembrance fresh to the end TO PARTAKE OF THE ORDINANCE ? None of the world. The blood of Christ doth save believers ; but all such. Infants never dry up. The beauty of this Rose are not fit parties, for the same reasons of Sharon is never lost or withered. He as they are unfit subjects for baptism. is the same yesterday, to-day, and for It would however only be consistent for ever. As his body in the grave saw no those who baptize infants to admit corruption, so neither can his love, or them also to the table of the Lord. Un- any of his excellencies. When the believing adults are unfit persons, for saints shall have fed their eyes upon the same reasons as they are unfit for him in heaven thousands and millions of any act of devotion or service to God. years, he shall yet be as fresh, beautiful, We are shut up then to believers in the and orient as at the beginning. Other Lord Jesus Christ : and even they need beauties have their prime and their the warnings of the apostle, “Where- fading time; but Christ's abide eterfore whosoever shall eat this bread and nally. Our delight in creatures is often drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, most at first acquaintance; when we shall be guilty of the body and blood of come nearer to them, and see more of them, the edge of our delight is rebated. farther prospect of Christ entertains the But the longer you know Christ, and mind with a fresh delight. He is, as it the nearer you come to him, still the were, a new Christ every day, and yet more do you see of his glory. Every the same Christ still.”
THE UNPROFITABLE SERVANT.
A SKETCH.-MATT. xxy. 24-30.
BY THE REV. SAMUEL HARRIS BOOTH.
The character of the “unprofitable to escape from punishment through his seryant,” with his reception and his mercy. It was a subterfuge. But he doom, involve lessons which it would was punished. And our question is, be well if we laid to heart. This on what principle was he punished ? man who had received the "one talent” He was condemned as “unprofitable.” was a servant as truly as those who had He had done nothing. He had received more.
He shared with them attempted nothing. He was therefore protection and support. The nature pronounced “unprofitable.” He had of the trust committed to him he been clothed and fed at his lord's understood and confessed. But the expense; but he had given no seraccusation he brought against his lord vice in return. He was like a drone is not borne out by the facts of the case. among bees, adding nothing to the He called his master “a hard man,” but stores. Like a branch without life, the master was justified in entrusting which not only deforms but endangers property to the care of his servants, and the tree, so this servant was a moral equally justified in expecting some re- excrescence, for he imperilled the morareturn : while the manner of his reckon- lity of his fellow servants, while he was ing with them and the way in which himself an encumbrance. He was like he rewarded fidelity prove him to have ground which, since it grows no wheat, been both wise and kind. Or, supposing may perchance grow thorns. At least, the charge to have been true, then self- it is unprofitable ground. And thereinterest would have prompted more fore he was condemned to be cast out strenuous efforts on the part of this from this service, where industry and servant, fearing the consequences of his fidelity were essential elements of chamaster's avarice, which would only the racter. more certainly fall upon him, if this This rapid review of the character trust were neglected. Or, again, if he and destiny of this servant has developed feared the loss of this talent through this principle, as one by which men will the uncertainties of commercial specula- be judged, “ the absence of good, irretion, then he might have deposited the spective, if that were possible, of posimoney where not only the principal tive evil ;" or, in other words, the would be safe, but whence he would negation of good, will be sufficient to receive interest for its use, and thereby condemn any man.” Now what sort have been prepared to return his lord's of a character is this, which will be conproperty“ with usury." The fact is, he demned for the “omissions" with which knew the benevolence of his lord, and he may be charged ? It were instrucinstead of fear at his severity he hoped tive, if we could sketch such a man. He is one who, having abilities of some kind | I do to glorify Christ? It is not his and of some degree, takes no deliberate last thought at night, what have I done step that will dishonour God; but he for Him ? He has no religious instrucneglects to do anything that may pro- tion to impart. There is no savour of mote his glory. In this proper sense, the divine life in and around him. He he has done nothing good. He is not does not, either by his words or his an atheist. He is not even an un- Christian bearing, rebuke sin when he believer, for he knows there is a God, meets with it. He cannot, at least he and he will confess at once that Christ does not, point to the cross when the is the only hope of salvation. But his soul of any one about him is in trouble religious convictions have no greater for salvation. There is no family altar intensity than this; for he lives practi- in his house, or if there be, the worship cally as though the religion of Christ presented there is like the body withwere a simple question of fact, involving out life; “ the form of godliness, but no truth, and having no other relation denying the power thereof." His relito his eternal welfare, than the death of gious dress sits ungainly upon him. Cæsar, or the destruction of Carthage. Men think him happier when the sub“ Yes, yes,” he says, and he goes on his ject is not named. Perchance he can way with no principle changed, no discourse to you learnedly on the passion subdued, no affection enkindled. sciences, and he can lead you poetically Or, since this character may be found "Through nature up to nature's God ;" in our congregations, perhaps in our but ask him of the life in Christ, and he churches, we superadd another feature to will stammer and say, “ Yes, it is true;" the sketch, and remind ourselves that but when a painful silence has passed this man has his seat in the sanctuary, he will resume the theme so ungraciously and it may be his name among the pro- interrupted. He will even talk of the fessed people of God. But there the accessories of divine things--of preachers matter ends with him. For if you follow -of congregational statistics--of civil him into his counting-house or his shop, and religious liberty—of educationyou will there find him immersed in his and of missions ; but test him below the ledger or his wares. His thoughts are surface, and attempt to elicit one reof gain, but not of God. The deity of sponse on personal piety, and you have self, or the mere spirit of business, has smitten that man speechless. And excluded the Supreme. He does not when you have left him, he may think labour that God may be glorified. He you personal, or, more charitably, he will think no more of His honour when may call you an enthusiast. he has doubled his property than he did This man is not disabled from action. before he was worth a penny.
This He has the same faculties as his fellow man has not robbed any of his fellows. servants, perhaps developed in a higher He has gotten all “honestly,” as men degree than in other men. He has would say. He has even abstained from intellect. He has opportunities for getting when by so doing he would pre-employing his talents.
No impedivent the ruin or injury of others. He ment, but such as are common to all, does not defy or insult society. His resists him. He has the same premoral tone none can decry. His children cepts to guide him. He has the same welcome him as he returns home or promise of the Holy Spirit to help him quits his business for the day. But he in the discharge of his duty. The reis not on the Lord's side. It is not his ward promised to every faithful servant first thought in the morning, what can of Christ, is held out to animate his faith
VOL. XV.FOURTII SERIES.