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and to the gift of His Spirit, for that holiness without which we cannot be admitted into His presence. In ourselves we are corrupt; and, of ourselves, we can do nothing; but we are branches of the living Vine; and, if we abide in it, we shall, out of its fulness, receive grace and strength to bring forth much fruit. Severed from it, we must die, and be cast forth as withered branches; but, in Christ, are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and His grace is sufficient for us.
2dly, Let us, whatever be our present attainments, beware of falling into temptation, and drawing back unto perdition. Let us never presume on what we have already done, but still press forward toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, remembering that even the great Apostle himself, who wrote this Epistle, found it needful to be unceasingly watchful, lest, after he had preached to others, he himself should be a cast-away.
Lastly, when the Apostle speaks of the Corinthians as being blameless in the day of the Lord Jesus, it is to Him alone that he ascribes this blessed result. We can never be accounted blameless, but through the obedience which Christ has rendered for us, and through His having paid the penalty due to our transgressions. Our highest attainments, therefore, far from filling us with pride, should keep us humble, knowing that we have nothing which we did not receive, and that we are saved not by our own righteousness, but by the free grace and mercy of God.
While, therefore, we thankfully acknowledge the gifts and graces which it may have pleased God to bestow upon us, let us be careful to look upon them, not as our own, but as a trust committed to us; to be improved, not to our own glory, but to that of the owner and giver of them. Let us run, with patient watchfulness and diligence, the race set before us; and, while we strive to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, let us remember with humble gratitude, that "it is God who worketh in us both to will and to do, of His good pleasure." L. S. R.
ON ATTENDING THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD'S SUPPER.
(A Conversation between a Minister and a Parishioner.)
Parishioner. I think, sir, you are not so particular about our staying the Sacrament, as some ministers are. Minister.-How came you to suppose that, neighbour? I consider it of such importance, that I can hardly believe any one to be a real Christian who neglects it.
P. And yet, sir, I think, there are some people in this parish who seem to be very serious, and anxious about their souls, but who do not come to the Lord's table.
M. They must either be ignorant of the real nature of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper; or else they must be sadly indifferent as to their preparation for the world
P. Then, you think, sir, that all who do not attend at the table are, in some way or other, in a wrong state. M. To be sure I do.
P. Why then, sir, instead of thinking little about the duty of attending that Sacrament, you consider it a positive duty to attend, and think a very great deal of it!
M. Certainly I do; and I cannot understand how you should ever have supposed the contrary.
P. Why, sir, I do not hear you speaking on this subject very often from the pulpit, for the sake of persuading us to attend.
M. But, I trust, I preach so as to shew you the need of looking to Christ for salvation, and trusting wholly to His merits for pardon of your past sins; and, besides this, I wish you to see the need of the help of God's Spirit to enable you to live according to His holy will. And, if you see these Scriptural truths aright, and feel their power, you cannot help coming to the Lord's table. I wish you to see your own real state, and to know what is your dependence, before I press upon you the duty of attendance on this means of grace. I want you to come from a right motive, that you may receive all the benefits of this holy Sacrament. If you come only as a form, or are careless about the state of mind in which you come, there will be no good arising from your attendance. want you to come;" but I do not want you to come
"unworthily." I wish you to see your need of a Saviour, and of His atoning blood, that you may be a partaker of all the benefits arising from His sufferings and death.
P. Yes indeed, sir, we are cautioned against coming "unworthily;" we are warned against this, in the Communion Service itself,-just as St. Paul warned the Corinthians, of the danger of eating and drinking unworthily.
M. Yes; and, when you see that the Apostle is so strong in his warning against the danger of receiving unworthily, and, when our own Church has seen fit to apply his words, as a warning to the people in our own days, you cannot wonder that I should be backward in urging all the congregation to partake of this Sacrament, lest many should come without a right understanding, and serious consideration, of the disposition in which they ought to come.
P. Yes sir, I see that you consider it needful to be cautious, lest you might be the means of leading some into the sin of receiving unworthily?
M. I do.
P. And that you would rather seek first to bring them to a right state of mind,-and that you would then have them become partakers of that holy Communion.
M. Certainly, that is my wish;-and I think, that if a man is brought, by the power of divine grace, to see his real state and condition, he will most assuredly then see the need of coming to Christ in true repentance for his sins, humbly in faith, seeking for pardon through his Saviour's sacrifice;-and then he will see the need of seeking that union with Christ which he may hope to find in this Sacrament,-and he will seek, too, for this opportunity of renewing his baptismal vow, and of thus again and again devoting himself to the service of his Lord and Master; and he will feel the blessing, too, of that "strengthening and refreshing of his soul," which he may expect to derive from partaking of that bread and wine which represent the body and blood of Christ.
11 Cor. xi. 29.
ON ATTENDING THE SACRAMENT.
P. But, sir, besides these great privileges, is not a Christian believer to consider the partaking of this Sacrament as a duty?
M. Certainly he is; the followers of Christ have His own command," Do this in remembrance of me."
P. Then I do not see how any Christian can safely neglect it.
M. No Christian can safely neglect it.
P. Then why, sir, would you not invite all of your congregation?
M. I would invite all ;-I am charged to invite all ;but I am also charged to shew them the necessity of coming in a right state of mind,—and to warn them of the danger of coming unworthily. Every one who "truly repents of his past sins," and knows that there is pardon through Christ alone, and earnestly desires to "lead a new life,”—and sees the need of God's Spirit to enable him to lead a new life by renewing his heart to holiness,— every one in this state of mind, is invited to come to this Gospel feast, and has every promise of Scripture that it shall be for his good.
P. But you do not expect that every one of your congregation is in this state?
M. It is too much to expect: and, if I should urge them to come; and any of them came without this repentance and faith, expecting that they would derive any benefit from their attendance, whilst they meant to go on in the same careless, worldly, and sinful course as before,-I feel that I might be instrumental in leading them into a grievous error,-and bringing them into that danger, against which the Holy Scriptures, and our scriptural church so solemnly warn them.
P. But, sir, if a man is in the state of mind which you speak of, worldly, careless, and unrepenting,-I should fear that he is in a state of condemnation, whether he partake of the Sacrament or not.
M. Undoubtedly; and if he is content to continue as he is, he will still be in a state of condemnation, whether he receives this Sacrament or not.
P. Then, sir, you would have a man become a good Christian, first; and then receive this Sacrament?
M. No, that is not my meaning. But I mean that he should be a true penitent, that he should be sincere when he confesses that he is a sinner, that he should have faith to believe, that, through Christ, his past sins may be pardoned, and that he should anxiously desire to forsake his sins, that he should be in earnest when he devotes himself, his soul, and his body to Christ, that he should humbly dedicate himself to God's service, and earnestly seek and sincerely wish for the help of God's Spirit to guide him, henceforth, in a course of holiness and Christian obedience. I would not say that he is to be a good Christian before he comes; for what humble-minded man could come, if he were to wait till he could think himself in that state. But, I repeat, I would see him come in the character of a repenting sinner; as one who is earnestly seeking for mercy, and anxious to give himself to the service of God.
P. Why sir, it seems to me that this is the state of mind in which a person ought always to be; and, if a man be in that state, you think he ought to come to the Lord's table; and that he need not then fear that he is eating and drinking unworthily.
M. Why need any one, in this state, fear to come? why need any believing Christian, who is anxious to live to God's service, fear that he is offending God, when he is seeking to obey the commands of his Saviour, by doing what that Saviour has bid him to do," in remembrance of Him." It is a want of faith, a want of trust, a just confidence in Christ, to suppose that He, who is all mercy to the returning penitent, should refuse to receive his offering, or accept his repentance.
P. Then, sir, you think that no one can safely stay away from this Sacrament.
M. I do: but I do not say that every one, who comes, will have the benefit which belongs to those who come with a right mind.
P. Then, if a man truly repents of his sins, and believes in the power of Christ to pardon them, and is