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by the law, for I had not known lust except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence, for without the law sin was dead." It is obvious. If we had never been commanded, we never could have broken the commandment.
For the same reason, again, if we destitute of charity, destitute of faith, destitute of hope-if we are like the heathens or the Israelites of old, proud, stubborn, and stiffnecked, wherein does the sin of that depravity of character consist ? Surely in the opposition which is presented to the teaching of Jesus Christ. For if Jesus Christ had not taught the graces of humility, faith, and charity, there had been no sin in their absence from our hearts. If we are Christians, we are bound to cherish in our hearts all those peculiarities of feeling which mark the Christian. If the poor man demands our alms in his distress, we are bound, under a Christian obligation, to give heed to his request. If we suffer injury, we are bound, under a Christian obligation, to make no retaliation. If we have, from inadvertence, or the hasty anger
of the moment, done wrong to
any one, bound, under a Christian obligation, to restore him fourfold. But wherefore? No law of nature tells us this. Quite the contrary. No law of man tells us this. For whatever
the law of man may do with actions, he can have nothing to do with thoughts. The only reason which can exist is, the teaching of the gospel and the command of Christ.
If, then, the moral obligations of the law, and the Christian graces of the gospel, rest for their authority on the word of God—and that alone makes them imperative—we have nothing to do but transfer the argument to the sacrament of the Eucharist, and the sin of its omission stands out with equal certainty. “This do in remembrance of me,” is as imperative, as much of divine authority, as much without exception as, “ Thou shalt not steal;" for the same God has expressed his will with regard to both : “ This do in remembrance of me.” It is not, you may do this in remembrance of me; there are certain occasions on which you may neglect it-certain frames of mind and temper which will incapacitate you-certain circumstances of life which will render its violation excusable, —but, “ This do.” Now if it were so—if it were only a suggestion on the part of our Lord-it would be ground enough for the Christian to go upon.
If Christ had said: " If it is agreeable to you, you may do this in remembrance of me,” even then, where would be the Christian's heart to refuse? But it is much more, it is positive. It is placed side by side with the decalogue. Would that it were, would that this law were inscribed on our church
walls, in parallel honour with the law of Moses, so that when we behold the creed of the Christian, and the prayer of the Christian, we might also behold this duty of the Christian, to remember the Saviour of the world, according to his own most holy institution.*
But I will put this in another light. In the prayer which we daily offer up to the throne of grace, one of our petitions is, that “God's will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” Now, if we are clear upon the point of Christ's institution of the Eucharist, that is a part of God's will. With what appearance, therefore, of consistency, with what face of common sincerity, can we offer up that petition to God, and yet neglect in deed any approximation to the fulfilment of that will ? We pray that God's
“ be done in earth as it is in heaven." Of course, it must be done in heaven with absolute perfection, and that perfection is spiritual holiness, a generally holy and obedient life. But how can we be generally holy and
* Bingham, in describing the ancient churches, informs us that it was the custom to ornament the walls with various texts of scripture. “ Another ornament, which served for use, as well as beauty, was their comely and pertinent inscriptions, many of which are preserved, and still to be read in ancient authors.” And to this day, in many of the old churches, these inscriptions remain ; and the text, “ This do in remembrance of me,” is not unfrequent over the altar, accompanying the creed, Lord's prayer, and commandments.
obedient, unless we are specifically so? How can we pretend to be anxious about the will of God in our general conduct, when, in one particular, we are notoriously deficient; when his precept—“Do this in remembrance of me,” stares us in the face in one page in the gospel, and “thy will be done in earth,” stares us in the face in another page-yet we stand daily violating the one, and daily praying for the other? “Why call ye
me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
This was the rebuke of Jesus himself; a rebuke to those who listened with their ears, and understood with their mind, and followed not in deed. Why, indeed, do we enter the house of God on the sabbath-day, lift up our voices in prayer and adoration, thereby acknowledging that we wish to be Christians—and yet do not the thing which Christ says? We call him, Lord, Lord; we go there to ask of him those gracious gifts which he has promised in his gospel, we go there confessing our sins, imploring pardon, seeking for the redemption which was wrought by his blood, and yet will not do the simple thing by which that blood is typified, and brought visibly to our hearts. “ He taught not as the scribes, but as one having authority.” The Jews acknowledged that; and yet persons who profess to be Christians reject that authority, they question and demur, but will not obey; they invent superstitious fears, and will not listen; they hear the suggestions of their own fancy, but not the word of God.
A contract entered upon between ourselves and God, is no light matter. But a contract has been entered upon between every Christian and God. By baptism, he was pledged among other things, “ to keep God's holy will and commandments, and to walk in the same all the days of his life," and it is idle to say that he, being a child, was not cognizant of that pledge; he virtually acknowledges it every day of his life, inasmuch as he has never yet withdrawn it; but he has more solemnly acknowledged it by the specific rite of confirmation. The bishop laid his hands upon him, and invoked the Holy Spirit 'to sanctify and to bless. To the question asked : “Do ye here in the presence of God, and of this congregation, renew the solemn promise and vow that was made in your name at your baptism, ratifying and confirming the same in your own person, and acknowledging yourself bound to believe, and to do all those things which your godfathers and godmothers then undertook for you?” To this, in the house of God and before the assembled church, he solemnly replied, “I do.” Then he must, in all candour, acknowledge that in rejecting this ordinance of the Lord he forfeits those pledges, and he must in consequence ac