« AnteriorContinuar »
have felt bound by the strongest ties to comply with his request. Let us not be less thankful to him who died to save us from everlasting death; who, when we were sinners, “ gave his life a ransom for 66 all.”
Consider too, that the Lord's Supper was intended to convey to us the benefits, which the death of Christ purchased for us, even the forgiveness of sin, and the assistance of the Holy Ghost. If we had no sins to be forgiven, or if our own strength were sufficient to the performance of the divine will, yet still we could not neglect this sacrament; without being guilty of disobedience and ingratitude. But if we are laden with sins, and compassed about with infirmities--as, whether we feel and confess it or not, is indeed the case with every one of us—it surely concerns us in the highest degree
to do what we can to procure to ourselves these inestimable benefits; and to refuse to partake of the Lord's Supper, is to act like a sick man, who throws from him the medicine, by which he might be healed ;-it. is, in some measure, to invite and court our own condemnation.
Our Lord himself, in his very remarkable discourse to the Jews in the 6th chapter of St. John, says, “ Except ye eat the flesh of " the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye “ have no life in you.” “If a man," indeed, as our Church wisely and charitably teaches,
by reason of extremity of sickness, or by
any other just impediment, do not receive “ the sacrament of Christ's body and blood, “yet, if he do truly repent him of his sins, “ and stedfastly believe that Jesus Christ " hath suffered death upon the cross for “ him, and shed his blood for his redemp“ tion, earnestly remembering the benefits “ he hath thereby, and giving him hearty " thanks therefore, he doth eat and drink “ the body and blood of our Saviour Christ “ profitably to his soul's health, although " he do not receive the sacrament with his “ mouth.” But if a man, without such just impediment, wilfully refuses to partake of the body and blood of Christ in the which Christ himself has appointed, he certainly acts as if he cared not for the strengthening and refreshing of his soul, or even for the soul's spiritual life.
Last Rubrick in the Communion of the Sick.
III. But perhaps you acknowledge the obligation to communicate, but are afraid of communicating unworthily. Let us proceed then, in the third place, to consider the qualifications requisite in order to partake of the Lord's Supper. These qualifications comprise nothing but what is necessary at every part of our life, whether we receive the Lord's Supper or not; nothing but what weengaged forat baptism; nothing but what is necessary to fit us for death. They may be comprised in two words, faith and repentance. In the Church Catechism, in answer to the question, “ What " is required of them who come to the “ Lord's Supper?” it is replied, “ To ex“amine themselves whether they repent “ them truly of their former sins, stedfastly “ purposing to lead a new life; have a lively “ faith in God's mercy through Christ, and " a thankful remembrance of his death, and “ be in charity with all men.'
Of the nature of repentance, none of you I hope are ignorant.' It consists in real heartfelt sorrow for sin, together with a sincere stedfast resolution to walk for the future in newness of life; a resolution to avoid to the utmost of our power whatever is displeasing to God, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Faith is a real belief in the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel, particularly in that most fundamental doctrine, the death of Christ for the sins of the world ; a belief, which is not the mere assent of the understanding, but the persuasion of the heart, shewing itself to be living and active by the good fruits which it produces on the conduct; a faith in short which worketh by love. Of such a faith the natural consequence is thankfulness—"a thankful re66 membrance of the death of Christ." For certainly a man, who really believes that when he was exposed to eternal death, the Son of God died to rescue him, will feel thankful for such a stupendous instance of loving-kindness. The being in perfect charity with all men, implies the harbouring no ill-will, a freedom from all desire of revenge, a readiness to forgive injuries, and to promote the welfare of all within our reach. This in fact may be considered as a part of repentance.' The qualifications for the Lord's Supper are mentioned rather more at length in the Communion Service. “ The way and means thereto, is first to “ examine your lives and conversations by " the rule of God's commandments, and " whereinsoever ye shall perceive your- selves to have offended, either by will, " word, or deed, there to bewail your own “ sinfulness, and confess yourselves to Al“ mighty God with full purpose of amend“ment of life. And if ye shall perceive “ your offences to be such as are not only
against God, but also against your neigh“ bour, then ye shall reconcile yourselves “ unto them, being ready to make satisfac“ tion according to the uttermost of your
power for all injuries and wrongs done
by you to any other; and being likewise “ ready to forgive others that have offended
you, as ye would have forgiveness of
your offences at God's hand.”. And again, more shortly, thus ; “ Judge there“ fore yourselves, brethren, that ye
be not judged of the Lord ; repent you truly for
your sins past, have a lively and stedfast “ faith in Christ our Saviour, amend your
lives, and be in perfect charity with all “ men,” And what is there here which