Page images

be, from the natural infirmity of man, and the imperfection of all human systems) the state, by these acts of reward, only exalts the individual with a reference to the advantage imparted to every other individual, and to stimulate others to similar exertions, personally and mentally, for the purpose thereby of benefitting and strengthening the whole body.

Hence it appears that all the members of a free state are equal, as members, in the eyes of the spirit of the constitution; and, if they have not the same regard for each other, as equal links of the same constitution, the strength necessary for the preservation of the state, which depends upon unanimity, becomes weakened.

So it is in the church : Christ, the head of this free state or constitution, equally regards all it's members ; he is “ no respecter of persons,consequently those who obey him must not be respecters of persons either, “but love their neighbours as themselves;” because the spiritual welfare of

their neighbour is connected with their own; and he who seeks not the good of others will obtain from God no good thing for himself.

Christ is pleased to grant one member more grace than an. other ; but this is only reward for superior diligence, zeal, and affection in his service, and by the same conduct any other member may arrive at the same reward; the inference being, that since all are equal in the

eyes of Christ, (though some are more especially rewarded for especial fidelity, which reward if others do not obtain it is their own fault,) every member should be equal in the eyes of the rest; and therefore at the Lord's table no one should

present himself who has a grudge, or ill-will against his brother; only such as look upon all with benevolence; free from any feeling of haughtiness or pride; and one peculiar benefit procured by the Sacrament is this very association of all without respect to rank; while, in the ordinary service of the church, rank or wealth is distinguished by a seat in a pew more or less decorated, and poverty by a seat in the aisle; but at the Lord's table all kneel together on the same platform, or the same cushion; the rich man and the beggar side by side: and no other words are used to the rich man when the bread and cup are presented to bim, than the precise words which are addressed to the beggar; nor does the minister shew more respect to the one than to the other; both take the same spiritual food, and to both is the same assurance of hope given. The Lord's Supper, therefore, more peculiarly initiates us in the true nature of Christ's kingdom, and the essential character of the constitution of his church. I have compared the constitution of a worldly state with that of the church, but I must now point out a principle in the latter not politically essential to the former,-a mundane state requires that each member should love the rest: The spiritual, or Christian state requires, that we should not only " love our neighbour as ourself,” “ and do unto all men as we would they should do unto us:" but a Christian must“ love them that hate him ; bless and pray for them that curse him, and do good to them that despitefully use him:" for all men are brethren, and Christ has said, He that says he loves God and yet hates his brother is a liar.This spirit of love, therefore, we must cultivate in our bosoms as an essential preparation for the Sacrament; and not only for the Sacrament, but for the regular and effectual practice of the Christian religion at large, if we would benefit by its dispensations; the basis of Christ's kingdom being mercy and love.




We now proceed to enquire into the true sense of the term damnation, as applied by St. Paul to the subject of the celebration of this rite; to discover whether or not the terror which prevents many persons attending the Sacrament is grounded upon any warrantry from scripture.

It appears, as before recited, that the Corinthians, by eating and drinking the sacred elements unworthily (in the manner described) ate and drank their own damnation; and it was observed that many people imagine eternal damnation is thereby meant; it was noticed, also, that an erroneous opinion exists in regard to falling into any sin after having taken the Sacrament, viz. that such act incurs eternal damnation. As these opinions weigh heavily on the

« PreviousContinue »