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Then shall any one refuse to join ? Shall any one, however lofty, or however humble, refuse to add his portion to
this holy work? Shall any one hold back in the maintaining of this record of his dying Saviour : “No man hath greater love than this, that he lay down his life for his friends?” And who are his friends? He says himself, “You are my friends if
do whatever I command you."
And for that love, for that friendship, that laying down of life, the price of salvation, shall
sit listless and slumbering, hearers of his word, and yet not doers; admiring and confessing, yet not following ; surfeited with the world, lethargic in our devotion, cold in our gratitude—while there stands a monument, open to universal approach, a public monument in which, in order to its completeness, the hand of every Christian must add its individual inscription, a public recording of his faith, his love, his hope engraven in the visible representations of the body and blood of Jesus Christ?
If anything difficult, anything requiring great skill, or peculiar to one nation more than another, it would not have been universally applicable; but as long as the existence of a human being depends on the bodily powers, and the bodily powers are sustained by food-as long as eating and drinking are the inseparable accidents of human life-so long, and so universal, and so easy of attainment, must be the memorial of the Saviour of the world.
But at the same time that we urge the performance of this act as a memorial, we must take good care that it be carried somewhat further than the
external act. The memorial must be considered as
of the mind, not only of the body. It is the heart that prompts, the motive that induces, the Spirit that is breathing in our souls, that alone can sanctify the act, or make it acceptable to God.
There can be no remembrance of Christ in the cold and worldly and temporal affections, which are our general guides and companions in earthly things; there can be
be no gratitude towards the Redeemer in the barren and fruitless tree of a lukewarm life. It is a knowledge of Christ, a hatred of the things He hates, a love of the things He loves, a following of the things He followed, by which our gratitude should be distinguished and witnessed. Out of ten lepers who were cleansed, one only returned to give thanks: and to our shame be it spoken, out of every ten in the congregations which frequent our churches, there is hardly a greater proportion than one who is found at the Lord's table to give thanks. “So unkind we be, so obvious we be, so proud beggars we be, that partly we care not for our own commodity, partly we know not our duty to God, and chiefly we will not confess all that we receive.
lips praise him, but our hearts dispraise him; our tongues bless him, but our life curseth him ; our words worship him, but our works dishonour him. O let us learn to give God thanks aright; to agnize his exceeding graces, that they may be shut up in the treasure-house of our heart; and may in due time, in our life and conversation, appear to the glorifying of his holy name.”* This, indeed, is the real gratitude that should accompany our steps to the altar of our Redeemer. Not the external obedience, or the external memorial, which, however necessary as far as they go, yet are not in themselves sufficient, but the heart: and when once the heart is won, when once the soul, through the inspiring grace of the Spirit, soars above the cloudy vapours which hover around, and encompass this world ; into the pure ethereal regions which are beyondthe faith of Christ, (not the uncertain extravagancies of enthusiasm, but the calm, placid, undeviating faith of the cross,) then “ are we very members incorporate in the mystical body of Christ; then are we heirs, through hope, of his everlasting kingdom ;-we are assured of God's favour and goodness towards us," -we
-we know that we live, and move, and have our being in him. Remembering the mercy, remembering the sacrifice,
* Homily on the Sacrament, Part ii.
remembering the sins that made that sacrifice necessary, we pass on our earthly course surely and steadfastly; we traverse our perilous path as holy pilgrims with loins girded, and staves ready, “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, we look for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
III. The motive which I would next urge is this: The extension and security of Christ's kingdom upon earth.
Christ's kingdom upon earth is comprehended in his church, and by his church is meant the associated body of Christian men; all therefore who are Christians are of the church of Christ, no matter of what sect or country they may be, as long as they embrace and practise the tenets of the gospel, they are the church of Christ. They need not be of the legally established religion of any particular country, because, for three hundred years the Christians were not acknowledged by any government, and yet they were the church of Christ ; on the contrary, many who profess themselves of the legally established religion, whose names are registered in due form in the books of the church, who attend, for custom's sake, the public worship of the country, and in fact by all outward forms
profess and call themselves Christians,” many
of these, (how many, who can tell!) though they are visibly, they are not, in their hearts of the church of Christ.* We would not
the entrance into the kingdom of
* Our articles say that “the visible church of Christ, is a congregation of faithful men in which the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments duly administered." But this visible church, according to Pearson, (see Pearson on the Creed Article, ix.) “embraceth all the professors of the true faith of Christ, and containeth in it not only such as do truly believe, but those which are hypocrites and profane.” Within the notion of the church are comprehended both good and bad, being both externally called, and both professing the same faith, for the “kingdom of heaven is like unto a field in which wheat and tares both grow together until the harvest,” like unto “a net cast into the sea, gathering of every kind,” like unto “a marriage feast, in which some have the wedding garment, some not.” So bishop Beveridge says, “ It is a congregation of such men as profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore is called the holy catholic church, not as if every person in it was really holy, really a saint, really a believer in Christ, for that the visible church here upon earth is like a floor in which is both wheat and chaff," &c.-Beveridge on nineteenth article. But it is evident that in proportion as the wheat abounds above the chaff, as the good fish prevail over the bad, and the more wedding garments which are seen at the wedding supper of the lamb; even so is the glory of God advanced, and his kingdom encreased : “We being many are one bread and one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread.” As therefore the Israelites were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink, and thereby appeared to be one people of God, so all believing persons, and all churches congregated in the name of Christ, washed in the same laver of regeneration, eating of the same bread, and drinking of the same cup, are uni