Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.” Every man, that striveth for the mastery, is temperate in all things.” And these precepts he confirms by his own example: “I (therefore) keep under my body, and bring it into subjection : lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away.”

Thus do the Ten Commandments, when elucidated by the divine principle of universal Love, appear to be a comprehensive epitome of all moral duties :-duties, which a Christian is the more concerned to imprint upon his mind, as it is the very basis of his profession, to perceive and acknowledge, on the one hand, how absolutely he is bound to a strict and undeviating fulfilment of them, if he would presume, on the ground of obedience, to claim acceptance with his Maker; and, on the other hand, (consulting his own heart, his own experience, and the general history of mankind) how utterly incapable is fallen man of attaining such perfection, as must, in that case, be required of him.

i Gal. v. 16.

21 Cor. ix. 25.

[ocr errors]

Under this view of our spiritual state, we shall comprehend, in what sense, and how truly, it has been said, that “the strength of sin is the Law;" and shall most thankfully embrace that gracious offer, which leaving still the law as a standard for our conduct, and a guide to our endeavours, has opened a door to mercy for all mankind; requiring only a hearty repentance and true faith, instead of unsinning righteousness; and, by the blood of a crucified and spotless Redeemer, reconciling a guilty world to its offended God.

11 Cor. xv. 56.

197

LECTURE XII.

THE HOLY COMMUNION,

1 Cor. xi. 26.

As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye

do shew the Lord's death till he come.

To complete our view of the form of worship ordinarily observed in our Church, nothing would now remain, but to turn our attention to that

portion of the COMMUNION-SERVICE, which is appointed “ to be said on Sundays and other holidays, when there is no Communion :": but, since no religious ordinance can be more important in its design, or more solemn in its form, than that of the holy Table (which, indeed, in primitive

See Rubric at the end of the Communion-service.

times, was an indispensable part of the daily service, and is still celebrated, in many of our churches, on every sabbath), we shall do better by extending our observations to the whole.

The “ Order of administration of the Lord's Supper,” according to the usage of our Church, is so constructed, as to form, in itself, a full and entire Service. It not only provides for every branch of divine worship ;—for confession, absolution, thanksgiving, petition, and intercession ;- but abounds (perhaps, beyond any other part of the Liturgy) with instructions applicable to every particular both of our faith and practice.

But the peculiar character of this sublime Office is its power to revive, in every soul not absolutely dead to all sense both of piety and of its own actual condition, those penetrating impressions and salutary convictions, which, amidst the allurements and distractions of the world, may long have lain dormant. Commemorating the last sufferings of Him, who gave his body to extreme tortures, and shed his blood upon the Cross, for our Redemption; and having been founded, for this purpose, upon his express mandate; it makes so direct and powerful an appeal to our love and gratitude, as may excite the penitent sinner to an effort of resolution, self-command, and amendment of life, which no ordinary act of religion might ever have effected.

While the Communion-service is thus admirably adapted both “ to strengthen such as do stand," and “ to raise up them that fall,” its pious authors, with singular judgment and discretion, proceed by gentle and gradual steps in this great work: first, by the recital of the Ten Commandments, and of the Epistle and Gospel appointed for the day, reminding us of those practical duties, wherein we may have failed ; and next, reviving our faith by the rehearsal of the Creed; reserving the assumption of a more solemn and pathetic tone for those parts of the service, in which the great sacrifice for sin, and the benefits which mankind derive from it, are directly typified, and brought home to the senses of those who partake in them.

A Sacrament, expressly instituted to commemorate the closing scene of our blessed Saviour's life, and the painful accomplishment of his beneficent mission, is appropriately introduced by that

« PredošláPokračovať »