Page images

ciable bond of union, by which every living member is united in one body, which in scripture is called the communion of saints, which is an admirable mean, when duly exercised, of keeping God's people from too great an interinixture with the men of this world. And shall the conviviality and cheerfulress of a festive board, equal and excel the liarmony. and spiritual peace of those who are met round the table of their common Lord, who come professedly joined by a spiritual and lieavenly union to celebrate the most amazing, most incompreliensible yet most beneticial instance of love to sinful men? In regard to time then, see them met in one day and at one hour to partake of this spiritual feast, waiting each for the other, and all for the blessing of the minister in the name of God, whilst a solemn yet secret Amen, like a chorus adding harmony to a song, bespeaks a common assent, which is heard and noticed by the majesty of Heaven. In regard to time and -place conjointly, the time in which this ordinance (according to the present order of all churches) is administered, is shortly after the finishing of publie divine service, and some convenient place of the same building, where that public service is perforined. And by this means the ardor of religious zeal, can hardly even in the most languid be supposed to cool between the different services; and the small removal of place, giving no hurry to the body, is less liable to disiurb the serious thoughts by the intervention of unsuitable objects.

If any one should ignorantly ask, But supposing any one should feel disposed to eat this solemn feast alone, would not this be equally beneficial ? By no means, for first how could it be the communion of saints. Now the communion of saints is an encouragement to every believer ; and the secret use of this ordinance could by no means fill us with that joy and thankfulness which the siglit of a company of pious and faithful men met together in one holy mind, is wont to inspire ; and 2dly, how it would edify the members of Christ's mystical body, vi ho as being joined, should move by mutual and general consent, and where would such choose to eat their solemn meal alone. Would it be in an empty church stripped of those living pillars of the temple of God, which for a while adorn his visible church below. What is a church? a solemn assembly of saints and holy men; as for the rest, where is the sanctity of naked walls ? --Would it be at home? If any men hurger (says St. Paul in a fleshly and bodily sense) let him eat at home: and by inference we may add, if any man hunger in a spiritual and believing seuse, let him meet with those who hunger thus also.

This leads us further in regard to order, to notice,

3d. That it be not done to satisfy hunger.

Some of the Corinthians seem to have received it for this end. But what character does St. Paul bestow on this conduct? He calls it heresy, into which whilst many fall, they which are approved or preserved from falling, are made manifest.

Alas! that the word heresy, should be used as a term of reproach to the followers of Jesus, as well as a term denoting an abandonment of and dereliction from the simplicity of the gospel. Here it is taken in the latter sense, to designate a most dangerous innovation creeping into the visible church of God. We read of it as an awful instance of a dreadful corruption speedily rising up and gaining ground in a newly established christian church. Yet whilst we shudder at the thoughts of it, let us rejoice that it is an evil which can scarcely be committed in this present day? Yet we may ask, have we no siinilar heresy existing in the visible church at the present day. What means that lover of this world creeping with an unsanctified countenance and a corrupted heart, among God's little flock, to take with them his portion of bread and wine ; yet not with them to take it through faith, in love upon, and thankfulness unto a crucified Lord, but to take it as a passport to the storehouse of wealth, and as the qualification to hold a lucrative place.

No hunger for bread, nor thirst for wine urges the wretch to take a larger portion than those around him: alas, he cares not whether the symbol or emblem touches his lips; but the hunger of civil preferment, and the thirst of avarice draws him

there, to the damnation of his gold-ensnared, and deceived soul. And oh! my country dost thou endure this ? Ye holy ministers of the established church of this land, ye who have God's cause and the good of souls indeed at heart, will ye endure this? Ye enlightened senators of our land: august assembly to whom your country look, that in you may be blended worldly wisdom in its brightest splendor, with the wisdom which is from above; and the love of your country, with the supreme love of, and desire for the glory of God. Will ye endure this ? Ye mitred heads, who profess' by the Holy Ghost to be made overseers of the flock of God, who direct the convocation and sit in the parliament of this land, will ye endure this? And thou aged monarch and venerable sovereign, by Providence placed on the throne to rule over an enlightened and prosperous people, presiding also by the laws of this realm, as temporal head of the established church therein; dost thou endure this? Do ye all endure this ? O that such a sense of the indecency and ungodliness of such a practice may soon fill your hearts, that the hand of the governors and governed in this realm, may rise with energy and love to God, to repel the most daring abuse of the most solemn sacrament ever made between Christ and his chosen.

9th. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen, and ye receive not our witness. John ü. 11.

In the foregoirg heads I have endeavoured to

[ocr errors][merged small]

prove the following propositions from the following scriptures, as 1st. To state the essential Divinity of Christ, froin John i. 51. 2d. His being the Eterpal God, from John viii. 58. 3d. His being judge of the whole Earth, from John v. 25. 4th. His equality with the Father, from John v. 19. 5th. His being the only spiritual refreshment for the soul, from John vi. 32 and 47. 6th. Tlie importance of Christ in that sense for our Salvation, from John v. 24. 7th. The Blood of Christ alone cleanseth "from all Sin, John vi. 53. 8th. The Necessity of seeing its Spirituality for our Good, from John vi. 36. In the present head a few words may be added to shew the nature of unbelief, viz. that it denies the testimony of Jesus, from John iii. 11. and (without wishing now to anticipate my subject) I shall then proceed, 10th. To shew the awful Nature of Sin, from John viii. 34. 11th. The Necessity of Regeneration, from John iii. 3. 12th. The Nature of Regeneration, that it must be wrought out by the Holy Spirit, John iii. 5. 13th. The awful Nature of denying Christ, from John xiii. 38. 14th. The Necessity of seeing him as our only way of Access to God, from John x. 1–7. and xvi. 23. 15th. That through Death alone we can reach Glory, from John xii. 24. 16th. That Humility is the Ground Work of Religion, from Jolin xv. 16. 17th. That Christ is honoured in the Reception of his Ministers, from John xv. 20. 18th. That the Sin of Man is the Cause of the Re

« PreviousContinue »