Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

if the Lord's Supper were merely an act of remembrance, it would by no means come up to this definition of a sacrament; and accordingly it is the doctrine of our Church, that the Lord's Supper was instituted, not only for the continual remembrance of the “ sacrifice of the death of Christ, and of the

benefits which we receive thereby,” but also as the means of conveying to the devout communicant the benefits which Christ's death was designed to procure ; as the “ means of strengthening and refresh6 ing our souls, by the body and blood of 66 Christ, as our bodies are” strengthened and refreshed by eating bread and drinking wineb. “ The cup of blessing which we 6 bless,” says St. Paul, “is it not the com5 munion of the blood of Christ? The s bread which we break, is it not the com“ munion of the body of Christo?” In compliance with this doctrine, the Lord's Supper is spoken of in the first exhortation in the Communion Service, as being to us

See Waterland and Law, if this volume should fall into the hands of any who have access to such authors:

ci Cor. x. 16.

[graphic]

66 spiritual food and sustenance;" and soon after, devout partakers of it are said " spi6 ritually to eat the flesh of Christ, and to - drink his blood; to dwell in Christ, and 6 Christ in them; to be one with Christ, 66 and Christ with them.” In the same sense, in the prayer immediately before the prayer of consecration, we intreat, that “we “ may so eat the flesh of Jesus Christ, and “ drink his blood, that our sinful bodies 66 may be made clean by his body, and our 6 souls washed through his most precious 6 blood, and that we may evermore dwell 56 in him and he in us.” And thus we ask in the prayer of consecration, that we may 66 bę partakers of the body and blood of 66 Christ.” All these expressions of spiritually eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ, of dwelling in him and he in us, of being partakers of his body and blood, mean precisely the same thing. They are figurative modes of expressing our partaking in the benefits which Christ's death purchased for us; and these are, forgiveness of sins, and the assistance of the Holy Spirit. In the same sense are to be understood those strong expressions in the

[blocks in formation]

Church Catechism, which assert, that “the 66 body and blood of Christ are verily and. o indeed taken and received by the faithful “ in the Lord's Supper;" which mean nothing more than that the faithful, those, who with hearty repentance and true faith receive the Lord's Supper, do verily and indeed partake of the benefits which the death of Christ purchased; the forgiveness of sin, and renewed strength from the Spirit of holiness.

A sacrament, however, is said to be not only the means of imparting divine grace, but also a pledge or token to assure us that we receive it. It is usual among men to accompany, with some outward sign or token, the appointment to any dignity, or office, or possession; or the conclusion of an agreement or bargain. In this country, for instance, in several of the high offices of state, the appointment to or relinquishing of them, is accompanied by the delivery or giving back of a seal, or wand, or staff: the conveyance of land is often completed by the conveyance of the writings relating to it, or by taking bodily possession ; or, to adopt a still more familiar il

[graphic]

lustration, when a farming servant is hired, it is customary to give a small piece of money as a pledge or earnest. And in a manner somewhat similar are the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper to be looked upon as an outward token, or pledge, or earnest, by the delivery of which by the hands of his minister, God conveys to the devout communicant the benefits which those symbols represent.. · These benefits, you will recollect, are spoken of as being received by the faithful, and by the faithful only. Thus while the 28th Article of our Church asserts, that ss the body of Christ is given, taken, and - eaten in the Lord's Supper only after an "heavenly and spiritual manner; and the “ mean whereby it is received and eaten is 66 faith:” the 29th says, “ The wicked and 56 such as be void of a lively faith, although 6 they do carnally and visibly press with 65 their teeth the sacrament of the body and 66.blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they 6 partakers of Christ.” .

I. From the foregoing account of the instituțion and nature of the Lord's Supper, the obligation to partake of it is sufficiently plain, We are enjoined to partake of it

by Christ himself. 6 DO THIS,” says he, “IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME; DRINK YE " ALL OF IT.” If we refuse to communicate, we are guilty of disobedience to our Lord's authority, and of course expose our. selves to the penalty of disobedience. Why call ye him Lord, Lord, and do not the things that he says?

Reflect too upon the time at which our Saviour appointed this ordinance. It was in the “ same night in which he was be“ trayed.” At the time when he was upon the point of enduring the severest agony of mind and body; when he was just about to encounter the most cruel indignities, to be mocked and scourged, and spit upon, and at last to undergo a most painful death; and all for our sakes; then it was that he instituted this sacrament, in order to put us in remembrance of his sufferings. Certainly we cannot refuse to comply with this his last, his dying request, without being guilty of deep ingratitude. Had we been condemned to suffer death, and some friend had given himself to die in our stead, we should have felt very thankful to him. And if he had desired us to do something to put us in mind of his kindness, we should

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »