Page images

is an act of holy union and fellowship in worship and obedience. Bishop HOADLEY pertinently says “Christians, meeting together for religious worship, and eating bread and drinking wine, in remembrance of Christ's body and blood, and in honour to him, do hereby publicly acknowledge him to be their master, and themselves to be bis disciples: and, by doing this in an assembly, own themselves, with all other Christians, to be one body or society under him the head; and consequently profess themselves to be under his governance and influence; to bave Communion or fellowship with him as head, and with all their Christian brethren as fellow members of the same body of which he is the head."

The term EUCHARIST is derived from the greek word Eucharisia, and means thanksgiving; which act forms part of the service. Dr.TAYLOR the pious author of Holy living and dying, says, “some receive the sacrament to procure great graces and bles

sings, and others as an Eucharist, and office of thanksgiving for what they have received."

It will be seen therefore that each of the foregoing titles, or designations, have in their nature and signification some pertinent application to this holy rite; but the rite itself is necessarily the same by whatever designation it may be signified. DR. TAYLOR, as above, observes that by different people it is received with a different understanding of its nature and consequences; and it is certain that the real nature of the Sacrament bas occasioned controversy; but the scriptures themselves must be our guide, for we bave in fact nothing else upon which we can truly depend. What we learn from them is, that our Saviour instituted it and commanded us to observe it, in remembrance of him.

Therefore are we bound to observe it: that it is calculated to excite joy, gratitude and thanksgiving we cannot doubt: and as all acts of sincere worship offered

to our Creator, Redeemner, and the Holy Spirit, will procure us graces and blessings in proportion as

we possess sincerity, love and gratitude, so, doubtlessly, will this important act. It certainly possesses a most awfully impressive, and beautifully benevolent character, and is—from the consideration of who its founder was; of the time at which he instituted it, viz. the night before he lay down his life for mankind, when his soul was in sorrow, through the burthen of the sins of the world; of the affectionate and affecting manner in which he instituted it, and of the reason for which we were commanded to observe, viz. in remembrance of him, whose body was then to be broken, and bis blood to be shed, for us---calculated to awaken the sublimest affections of the heart and the most fervent devotion of the soul.

If there be a mystery in it, as we cannot understand divine mysteries, we have only to partake of it with faith, hope, and

charity; be grateful, and trust: if there be no mystery we must still participate in it with singleness of heart, thankfulness, homage, love to Christ, and charity to all mankind; and if, while schoolmen dispute about its nature, we do this, Christ will accept our service and reward it: and that is the most significant matter.

And now, Christian reader, having written all that has occurred to me relating to the Sacrament, as appearing necessary to a short work of this nature, I hope I have been found sufficiently explanatory; and that, if you have been negligent of the Sacrament, this may be one mean, though an humble one, of inducing you to be more attentive in future: if

you have scruples, that it may assist to remove them; if you have doubts to dispel them ; and if you have fears to allay them: but, with all the helps that may be offered to you, to know your duty thoroughly, you must pray to God, and read the Holy Scriptures diligently, for in them only are “ the words of eternal life.”



The only way to arrive at a certain knowledge of our Christian duties is to study the Christian law, which is only to be found in the Holy Scriptures; upon which there are many commentaries, made by different polemical writers ; some of which are very useful, and to be consulted for the clear explanation of difficult texts, by those who have previously (and attentively) read the Scriptures themselves; for without this requisite preliminary such commentaries will only mislead; for how can he make up his mind as to the certainty of inferences deduced from principles with which he is unacquainted ? yet I know not whether a great part of mankind are not in the habit of making such expositions more the objects of their attention than the texts of which they propose to be the interpretation.

The absurdity of such conduct is too

« PreviousContinue »