Dear Friends: How many things
come into our minds, coming to Christ’s Table: how many remembrances of such
times when we came in days that are gone: remembrances of fears that were in
our hearts when we sat down at the Holy Table;— fears which proved quite
groundless;—the trouble we anticipated never came: and remembrances, too, of
hopes we cherished, and worldly plans,—which it pleased God to say should
all crumble in dust! You who are young, coming perhaps for the first time to
the Lord’s Table, with your fresh feelings and earnest purposes of cleaving
to your Saviour, God keep your young hearts and grant your good purposes may
endure: but you cannot know what the Holy Communion is to many,—with all
that is best in whom it is blended; and to whom God’s grace has made it an
unspeakable comfort and help. God, by His good Spirit, make it all that
We have come up to the mount of ordinances: pleasant is the old name one
used to hear as a child. The world is behind us: the world is below. We
desire that nothing may hinder us of feeling our Saviour’s presence: of
feeling ourselves safe, and quiet, and without carefulness, in His presence.
Let us lift up our hearts: yea, rather lift Thou up our hearts, Blessed
Spirit of God.
And what is there to be thought of in this quiet time, but the old message
from heaven to earth; God’s love in Christ to us sinful human beings ? We
wish that we had more faith in it. We do not desire at all, now, to have any
new tracks of meditation pointed out to us. We desire, gratefully, and
peacefully, to think of Christ; and of His blessed death which is our life;
and of His glorious resurrection. We desire by faith to feed upon Him, Who
is the Bread and Water of life to the longing soul.
We do this in remembrance of Him. We look upon the elements set apart by the
word and prayer to be sacramentally the body and blood of Christ: we are
persuaded of the mystery of His holy Incarnation—God manifest in the flesh:
that He was sent of the Father into the world; and took our flesh and blood,
the second Adam, the Lord from heaven.
We are persuaded that having taken our nature, He endured for us the curse
and punishment of sin, and so satisfied Divine Justice: that He was bound
that we might be set free, was reviled that we might come to honour, was
condemned that we might be acquitted at the judgment-seat of God: yea, that
He suffered His blessed bpdy to be nailed to the cross, and bowed His head
in death, that we might be accepted of God and raised to life in Him: and
this one offering up of Himself we commemorate and show forth in the
breaking of bread, with a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God
for the same.
And as our Lord hath ordained that we are to eat of this bread and drink of
this cup, to assure us of our union with Him, and that He giveth us His body
and His blood to be our meat and our drink unto life eternal; we are not to
doubt His goodness, but to be firmly persuaded that He accomplisheth
spiritually in us all that He outwardly exhibits. For the cup of blessing
which we bless is it not the Communion of the blood of Christ? The bread
which we break, is it not the Communion of the body of Christ?
And as by His death He hath obtained for us the life-giving Spirit, Which,
dwelling in Him as the Head, and in us as His members, unites us all in one
Body, we are to receive this Supper in brotherly love, and mindful of the
Communion of Saints. For we, being many, are one body; for we are all
partakers of that one Bread. We rejoice in the holy fellowship wherein we
have part with the faithful patriarchs and prophets of old; the holy
apostles and evangelists; the blessed martyrs and confessors: the redeemed
of all ages who have died in the Lord,, and now live with Him for evermore;
our fathers, our brethren, our children, and the friends who were as our own
souls: believing that though our eyes behold them no more, they h$ve not
perished; but that as Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which
sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.
On that ever memorable night, etc.
Dear Brethren: Since the Lord hath now fed our souls at His table, let us
praise His holy name with thanksgiving, Who hath not spared His own Son, but
delivered Him for us all, and given us all things with Him: who commendeth
His love towards us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us:
much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from
wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God
by the death of His Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by
His life. Let us, therefore, show forth His praise from this time forth for
evermore: glorifying God in our bodies and in our spirits, which are His:
ever walking worthy of His grace, and of our high calling in Christ Jesus.
Surely, now, the right feeling of our hearts is thankfulness: quiet
thankfulness and rest of soul. It is a feverish life many live: and there
are perplexities and troubles waiting for some of us beyond these walls: but
there are rest and thankfulness here, duty and privilege together. We are
thankful that God has vouchsafed to feed us with the spiritual food of the
most precious body and blood of His Son our Saviour: assuring us thereby
that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of our Lord, and
heirs through hope of His everlasting kingdom. And thus thankful for present
and past* we are trustful for the future. The Lord hath been mindful of us:
He will bless us. Specially we trust that He will so assist us with the
grace of His Holy Spirit, that we may continue in that holy fellowship to
which we have attained; and do all such good works as He hath before
ordained that we should walk in them: offering not now only, but in all our
life, ourselves to God, our souls and bodies, dedicating ourselves wholly to
His service, henceforth to live only to His glory.
It is a good and happy life that awaits us, if it please God that these
things indeed be so. Doubtless, there will be many failures: but His
providence and grace will keep us from great sin and sorrow; and from evil
that it may not grieve us. And if He sees we are able to bear it meekly, He
may grant us further blessing, granted indeed to few: as assurance of His
love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost.
Go in peace from the Table of the Lord: and the God of peace go with you.
Then is sung part of Psalm CXV
12 The Lord of us hath mindful been,
and He will bless us still:
He will the house of Israel bless,
bless Aaron's house He will.
13 Both small and great, that fear the Lord,
He will them surely bless.
14 The Lord will you, you and your seed,
aye more and more increase.
15 0 blessed are ye of the Lord,
Who made the earth and heaven.