Abbildungen der Seite

so doing, he evades a most important obligation; and the very feeling which dictates his excuse for not performing it, that he is not prepared, is at once an acknowledgment that this duty is a legitimate one, and, therefore, ought to be performed. It is at the same time an admission, that he is still in his sins. How then can any one be otherwise than wretched, who, whenever he is called upon to seek his Saviour at the Sacrament, is smitten with the fearful consciousness that he is unfit to approach Him upon earth, when he must know that, under such circumstances, he cannot be in a condition to meet Him in Heaven? The very repugnance which he feels to meet Christ at his altar, cannot, he must be aware, be a repugnance instilled into his heart by the Holy Spirit, as He would scarcely prevent any one from communicating worthily at the Lord's table, when he invites all to do so; it can then be no other than the dictates of a heart, which prefers rather to flutter amid the blandishments of sin, than to contradict its desires by coming unto God. A man who seldom or never communicates, loses too all those spiritual advantages which arise to us from an intimate acquaintance with ourselves. His self-examinations are few. As he seldom enters upon that scrutiny which can alone show him to himself as he is, he gives the great adversary of his soul a perpetual advantage over him, and is thus led blindly on to his destruction. He is seduced into the broad and beaten way of peril, by avoiding the narrow path that leads to life eternal. He discovers not his danger until it is, perhaps, too late ; and when he is unexpectedly awakened to a sense of his extremity, he may possibly neither have time for reformation, nor ability to repent. Wretched, therefore, in every point of view, is the man whom the Lord does not choose nor cause to approach unto Him.

Let us remember, that to withdraw altogether from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, is practically to reject the doctrine of the atonement, "by which we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.” By coming to his table, we at once solemnly testify and avow our faith in this merciful act of expiation. By absenting ourselves from it, we withhold that acknowledgment which is so eminently due from all who believe that there is none other name whereby we can be saved, but only the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Let none of us falsely persuade our credulous hearts, that we actually absent ourselves from his altar, only because we respect him too highly to approach it unworthily,as this is really nothing better than a mockery of religion ; it is a prostitution of her sacred name to the most unholy purposes; it is making her the cloak of our depraved appetites, the palliative of a criminal indisposition. There can be no possible respect for the Saviour in refusing his invita

tion, only because we have insulted him by neglect and rebellion. Our respect would be better shown by renewing our homage, and by resorting to his table to offer there the pledges of our sincerity.

Let us remember, that our Saviour only invites us to Heaven, as he invites us to his holy communion. Both invitations are given for our benefit, not for his. My brethren, ask your consciences then, and ask them with earnestness, if it can be safe to reject the invitation of your God.



St. James, 11. 17.

“Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."

The importance of faith as absolutely essential to salvation, is one of the most prominent doctrines of the Christian religion. St. Paul has dwelt upon it with so much eloquence and energy as a condition of justification, or absolution from sin, without expressing in distinct terms the necessity of works, that many have been led into the error of supposing that faith alone, that is, a mere quiescent belief, is sufficient to bring them unto God. This fallacy, however, is sufficiently exposed in the General Epistle of St. James, where he expressly insists upon works, the fruits of faith, and the only demonstrative evidence of its identity, as especially necessary to salvation.

No good Christian will suffer himself for a

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »