« AnteriorContinuar »
ners; for sinners who are penitent, and wish to subdue their sins, although they expect not to subdue them entirely while they continue in the body.
Serious attention to what has been said of the qualifications requisite in order to partake of the Lord's Supper, ought to remove all the groundless obstacles which prevent men from communicating. I wish however particularly to address two descriptions of persons.
Many of you say that you are too young to communicate. But are you too young to repent and believe? Are you too young to fear and to serve God; too young to wish to go to heaven rather than to hell ? Our Church considers all who are old enough to be confirmed, certainly all of the age of sixteen years, as old enough also to receive the sacrament; and so they certainly are. If many young people are in the habit of neglecting the Lord's Supper, their bad example furnishes no excuse for you, and does not lessen your obligation. Do you think that because you are young, you need not think of these things, but may
e See the 112th Canon.
lightly follow your own wills and fancies, and that it will be soon enough to attend to religion when you are old? But you may not live to be old. You may be cut off in the beginning of life. If in the strength and confidence of youth you resolve to “walk in “ the ways of thine heart and the sight of “ thine eyes, know thou that for all these
things God will bring thee into judgment'." The Scriptures exhort you to attend to religion in the morning of your life: “Re“ member now thy Creator in the days of
thy youth.” God has a right to the best of your days, and the best of your strength. Do not then suffer the plea of youth to prevent you from complying with the dying request, the dying command, of your crucified Saviour. Do you say that youth is exposed to peculiar temptations ? There
is then the greater reason why you should , seek for spiritual strength at the table of
your Lord. You are old enough to understand what religion is; you are old enough to be sensible of the difference between being happy or miserable for ever. You have not then any excuse for neglecting the
Eccles. xi. 9. 8 Eccles. xii. 1.
sacrament, and you cannot neglect it without being guilty of disobedience to Christ.
Again: women of the poorer class, when they have families of children, too generally make this circumstance a pretext for absenting themselves from the Lord's table. They say that their children burden them with cares, fret and ruffle their temper, and thus render them unfit for the sacrament. But do your families prevent you from repenting and believing? If you repent and believe, you are fit to come. Your families do in fact furnish an additional motive to you for being religious, and ought to make you anxious to draw down God's blessing both upon yourselves and upon them. If they have been to you an occasion of sin, you must repent of such sin, and strive against it for the time to come ; and that you may strive successfully, seek for spiritual strength at the Lord's table. Irritation of temper, and anxiety or carefulness of mind are to be regarded as marks of human weakness, and must be prayed against, and striven against. To suffer them to keep you from the Lord's table, is as if a sick man should make his sickness
an excuse for refusing to apply to the physician. In short, you are either fit to come to the Lord's table, or unfit. If fit, you have nothing to keep you from it. If unfit, you are living in an unchristian state, ą state of condemnation. And can you quietly make up your mind to continue in a state of condemnation until you have ceased to have children, or until your families are grown up? The Scriptures represent your children as a blessing. Do not make them a pretext for disobeying God; for neglecting your salvation.
Finally, let me beg of you all to believe that it cannot be wise or safe to live in the neglect of an institution of Christ. Remember that you are bound to partake of the Lord's Supper, because Jesus Christ has commanded it; because you act most unthankfully if you neglect it; because of the spiritual benefits which it is intended to convey, Remember that nothing is necessary to prepare you for this ordinance but faith and repentance; and that nothing, generally speaking, ought to keep you from it, but what, if persisted in, will keep you out of heaven. If you profess and call
yourselves Christians, do not slight the Christian sacraments. If you believe that Christ died upon the cross for your sins, do not neglect to commemorate his death in the way which he himself appointed. If you acknowledge Christ as your masterif you call him Lord, Lord, refuse not to do the things that he says h.
. Among the many excellent treatises on the
Lord's Supper, published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, I hardly know to which to give the preference. Perhaps the “ Short “ Introduction to the Lord's Supper," by the apostolical Bishop Wilson, is altogether the most useful. Waldo's " Essay on the Holy Sacrament” is written with great judgment and piety, and the remarks on the Communion Service are excellent. Bishop Gibson's little book on this subject bears marks of the strong sense, learning, and pastoral fidelity of its author. Archbishop Synge's “ Answer to all Ex: “ cuses for not coming to the Holy Sacrament," and Bishop Fleetwood's Reasonable Communicant, are both written with great clearness, and are particularly calculated for removing the doubts of scrupulous persons.