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ON ATTENDING THE SACRAMENT.
seeking for newness of life, such a one may approach the Lord's table, without fear of eating and drinking his own condemnation.
M. Assuredly. He cannot stay away from that Sacrament without doing violence to his conscience, knowing that he is disobeying the command of Christ: and, moreover, he cannot stay away without fearful risk of losing the great promises which Christ has given to those who repent of their sins, and who seek His blessing and His help by His own appointed means.
P. But St. Paul warns the professing Christians of his day against the sin of eating and drinking unworthily, and tells them that they are eating and drinking damnation to themselves.
M. Yes; but those who did so, were not true and sincere followers of Christ. This feast was, in St. Paul's day, partaken of by Christians in a different manner from what it is now. It was a sacred feast, where devout Christians met for the purpose of encouraging Christian love and fellowship; and thus eating and drinking in love, and making it a holy feast, their hearts were raised to devout thankfulness for the mercies of Christ; and, in remembrance of Him, they sung His praises, and encouraged one another in their godly course, and made this meeting together a holy feast of love and charity.But there were some among them whose hearts had no love for Christ; and all they did was to eat and drink as if at a common meal; and this often to great excess. The Apostle therefore tells them, that, if they thus profaned a holy feast, they were committing a great sin, bringing condemnation on themselves instead of a blessing.
P. The Apostle says damnation, not condemnation.
M. The words mean the same thing. The Apostle does not here' mean eternal condemnation, and tells them what sort of condemnation he means, divers diseases, and sundry kinds of death," as our prayer book says; thus expressing the Apostle's meaning, who says, many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep," or
1 1 Cor. xi. 30.
die. This "judgment was inflicted to bring them to a right understanding, that they should not be condemned with the world." This is quite different from saying, they were condemned eternally, and beyond the reach of repentance, if they partook unworthily. In the margin of the Bible, the expression is " judgment."
P. Yes, it means they bring a judgment on themselves: but even this shows that it was a great sin, and received great punishment: but we cannot, in our day, sin in exactly the same manner as the Corinthians did :-the method of administering this Sacrament now prevents the possibility of this.
M. We cannot, now, sin in the same manner as they did; but yet we may eat and drink unworthily; and our church still warns us to beware of this.
P. But a humble and sincere penitent cannot be committing a sin, if he partakes with a real desire of divine mercy and divine grace.
M. No: such a one cannot be committing a sin, by partaking; he is, on the other hand, committing a great sin, and losing his Christian privileges, if he does not partake.
P. Then you think there is nothing to prevent a sincere penitent from partaking of this Sacrament.
M. Nothing. Christ calls him. Christ invites him, Christ commands him. He must come; for Christ invites all his followers to come. Every member of Christ's Church must prove that he belongs to Christ, by acting according to the directions which Christ gave, for the everlasting guidance of His Church and people.
P. But then you don't encourage the careless and the ungodly to come.
M. They are in great danger when they stay away: and if they continue in their careless unrepenting state, they are in the same danger even if they come; for theirs is only an outward service; and no blessing is promised to it; nay rather it is sin, for it is profaning the sacrifice of the Lord. Let them "examine themselves," according to the Apostle's advice, not as an excuse for staying away, but that they, seeing their sinful state, may be brought, in true repentance, to Christ for pardon: but ex
FUNERAL OF A CLERGYMAN.
amining themselves, and seeking the mercies of Christ in true repentance, let them " so eat of that bread, and drin of that cup'."
FUNERAL OF A CLERGYMAN.
Ir had long been my custom, during the delightful season of Autumn, to make a little tour for about a month by the sea side; and it so happened that this year I visited the eastern part of Kent. As I was making my excursion on foot, I arrived at a village, where the Mother Church of a neighbouring town stood, that was situated on the very margin of the deep. I heard the bell tolling for a funeral; and, as I came nearer to the place, I observed a deep and sorrowful interest marked in the countenances of those I passed, who were crowding, from all quarters, to witness the melancholy ceremony. Upon enquiry, I found that it was the remains of the Pastor of the parish, that were to be consigned to the grave; and, as I never wish to lose any opportunity of fixing on the mind a serious thought of my own mortality, I followed in the melancholy stream, till I came opposite to the Rectory house, which was close to the Church. As I reached this spot, the sorrowing train was just issuing from it; and it was at the moment that the bearers of the corpse had stopped for a short time in the court, that the mourners might take their places in the funeral procession. I first observed those, who were closest in affection, close to the departed object of it; then followed several clergymen in their robes, who came to mourn over their respected neighbour, with "alas! my brother;" and then a long train of persons, who I understood-were the Mayor and Corporation of the adjoining town; and, as a close to the whole, the servants-both male and female-followed, who seemed to share deeply in the domestic affliction; the doors of the Rectory then closed on their late master, and the procession went slowly and mournfully to the Church. A melancholy kind of curiosity induced me to be a witness to the close of this impressive ceremony.
1 1 Cor. xi. 28.
While the mourners were conducted to their seats, the organ pealed forth its solemn and melancholy notes; and, when it ceased, the Clergyman began the appointed service with the appropriate psalms, which so forcibly call on all to take a serious lesson, from what was then before them, of their own transitory condition, that they might so number their days, that they might apply their hearts unto wisdom." After the psalms, that sublime lesson from St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians was read, in which we are taught, how we may rise to a life of eternal happiness, when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality. This beautiful service was gone through, in a solemn and affecting manner, interrupted only, at times, by pauses, which the feeling heart knew well how to account for. The organ now poured forth another solemn dirge; and the body was borne to its silent grave in the church-yard.
When the mourners had formed a circle round it, the heart-touching service was resumed; and, after another prayer, the body was lowered down into the vault; and when that pious wish was breathed forth, that we "might rest in Him, as it was humbly hoped that this our brother did," all appeared to join in it most fervently.
The service was now concluded, and the relations retired to the house of mourning; and the other friends separated and returned to their own homes. I now left the church-yard, and as I was quietly pursuing my journey to the place where I intended resting for the night, I overtook one of the many who had attended the funeral, and fell into conversation with him on the all-engrossing subject of their loss. He was a particularly decent looking man, rather advanced in years; and, from the style of his conversation, I soon found out that his employment had been to "go down to the sea in ships, and occupy his business in deep waters," and that he was a native of the place, and knew well him who was no more. It was most natural that I should wish to hear some further particulars of a person who had called forth no small kind and respectful feeling, and I listened, with much attention, to his interesting but melancholy recital. He told me that this exemplary Clergyman
FUNERAL OF A CLERGYMAN.
had been resident amongst them for more than forty years, during which time, he had been scarcely ever absent from his parish, but had anxiously attended to their wants, both spiritual and temporal; and that from having been blessed with good health till within the few last months, it had been a personal service, unassisted by any other; and he said, that his was not the recommendation from the pulpit only of the duties of a Christian, but that he added the force of his own example to his preaching. He particularly remarked to me, that his manner of addressing his congregation in the Church was earnest and affectionate; that it was plain and simple, and seemed to go from the heart to the heart of the hearers.
On this subject my companion seemed to speak with great earnestness and feeling, as it had wrought a great change in himself. It was from the exhortations of this excellent man, both in public and private, that he had been led to think seriously on spiritual things; and, in the language of a sailor, he said he had been indebted to him for having directed his thoughts, in the decline of life, to that Almighty Being, "who ruled the raging of the sea, and stilled the waves thereof when they arose," and teaching him to look up to the great Saviour of all, to conduct him to the haven of eternal rest. And, still alluding to his former occupation, he said, that from him he had been taught how to pass through this voyage of life, and to think seriously of its close. And I thought I could observe that his countenance brightened up with a gleam of holy hope, when he added, that "from him he had learned that there was a beacon lit up, to guide him through the waves of this troublesome world to the land of everlasting life-that there was a Pilot who would steer his vessel of mortality through the dark waters of trouble and affliction, and that there was an anchor, which would hold her fast, amid all the driving of the storm."
He then went on to tell me what he did out of the pulpit in his weekly intercourse with his parishioners; how he visited the sick and the afflicted, endeavouring to comfort those that mourned; and how his hand was always opened most liberally to those who were in want. Indeed, Sir, he said, we have all, both rich and poor, had an unspeak