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262 MOTIVES FOR COMMEMORATING
Can a Christian, who feels unspeakable obligations to the adorable Saviour, read these impressive portions of the word of God, and not perceive his duty, and the most powerful motives for obedience.
“Do this in remembrance of me." Can any command be more plain, more positive, more reasonable, or more im. portant ? Do this.- Attendance at the Lord's table is not a subject left to human choice; but to every disciple of Jesus are his express and solemn command is-Do this. And the command has sanctions superior to those of even his other use precepts. It was uttered almost by his dying lips. It was given the same night in which he was betrayed; and after pur his ascension was repeated in the revelation made to the apose tle Paul. To neglect this ordinance is thus far to reject the der authority of the Lord of heaven, and to violate an express and positive command, enforced by the most solemn sanctions that even the word of God contains. If then you can neglect the Saviour's table, where is your faith, your love, your obedience ? : $ 2. When the design of this ordinance is considered, the st subject is presented in a still more impressive light. On one per hand, obedience is enforced by motives springing from its en design, and pleasing in the extreme; on the other, disobedi- [el, ence appears peculiarly flagrant, because it resists all those charming and impressive motives. Behold the Son of God instituting this holy ordinance. The last night of his life has arrived. The traitor has gone out to betray him.-The bloody agony of Gethsemane, and the horrors of the cross, are in sight. Its He is about to interpose himself as a spotless victim, between in an apostate world and offended justice. The intolerable load 135: of the sins of countless millions is going to press him down, with a weight which none but he could bear. All this is to ICE be borne before another sun shall rise and set. He knows it, yet, full of heavenly love, forgets his own sorrows that he may 1998 minister to the comfort of his flock. In that last awful nigol, , he broke the bread, and poured out the wine, and said, This spectable body of Christians, the followers of Barclay. reiect the Lord's su
per altogether. How very erroneous are their views on this point, argued from the importance which the Saviour, after his return to heaven tached to this ordinance, which he displayed, by making it part or by
urn to heaven, at !
is revela tion to St. Paul, who says, I have received of the Lord (not from apostles) that which also I delivered to you. The perpetuity of the ord is demonstrated in the declaration, that in it the Lord's death is SOW rill he come.
(not from fellow
THE SAVIOUR'S DEATH.
263 do in remembrance of me, Cold is the heart that can forget him. Cold the heart that delights not to cherish the remembrance of such a friend. Follow him from the table, where he broke the bread, to the cross on which he died. There he atones for sins numberless as the drops of morning dew, and vast as the mountains that pierce the skies. There he brings in an everlasting righteousness, and opens wide the gate of heaven. There he dies, and dies for you; dies that you may live; sheds his heart's blood to wash away your sins; and
endures his Father's frown, that on you, a poor, ruined child E of death and woe, his Father may for ever smile. For you
he purchased peace, by agonies intolerably severe. To you he opens heaven. Your Shepherd would he be through the wilderness of time; and crown the long eternity that awaits you with glory, honour, and happiness. In those many mansions in his Father's house, where he is now exalted at the right hand of power, he would give you a peaceful dwelling! In those regions, where as the Lamb that was slain, he will lead his flock to living fountains of waters, and where God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, he would en
rich you with all the treasures of eternal life. Compared with - this immense benevolence, what are human benefactors, the
wisest, the greatest, and the best! Their kindness, when it
shines brightest, and glows with the warmest fervour, is more ir insignificant compared with his, than the glimmering of a - glow-worm compared with the meridian sun. What grateful
recollections then does he deserve ! All his dying love, and i all his living care; all he has done for your salvation, all he
is doing, all he will do through eternity, should unite to ime press this precept on your heart, and to render it the most de
lightful precept in the book of God. “This do in remembrance of me.” Can they be Christians who hesitate to obey a precept recommended by such a design, as that of remem. bering such a friend ! Will not the Christian rather say to Him, “ Holy Redeemer, thou hast united my happiness and duty, in bidding me remember thee. O thou divine friend! I would remember thee while memory keeps its seat within my soul; and rather let my right hand forget its cunning, let my heart forget to move, my pulse to beat, my tongue to speak, my eyes to see, than I forget thee, whose dying love procured eternal salvation for my ruined soul !"
264 MOTIVES FOR COMMEMORATING
$3. These considerations, on remembering Christ with compar gratitude and love, receive additional weight when we take forth so into view the particular event, in his benevolent course, to of infini which the sacred supper leads our meditations. The event | God shin was the most important in the annals of time; the most mo- phim, mentous in the records of eternity. We have no reason for their cre apprehending that such another event ever did take place in gary, w eternity past, or during an eternity to come ever will. The Imour. happiness of the millions of the redeemed, and the glory of event God in their salvation, through eternal ages, was suspended on ternity in his atonement. If that had not been effected, the apostate este world must have been for ever lost; heaven must have closed sist radi its gates against all the inhabitants of the earth. No songs of med redeeming love must ever have resounded through its blissful regions. No child of Adam must ever have become a childs him of God. The wisdom and love of God in man's redemption (4. P must never have been displayed. The triumphs of Satan would have been complete, and the earth have become only one to a an ample nursery for hell. On this one event all these others listin were suspended. This one was effected. Jesus died, and stre dying glorified the law and made it honourable, atoned for at the sin and rescued the sinner. The way to heaven was then Obi opened. Myriads, admitted there, in consequence of this file sacrifice even before it was offered, were confirmed in happie ness, and the way prepared to that abode for millions more. The plans of the wicked one were baffled. A display of the love and wisdom of God, that will shine bright to eternity, Tito then commenced. Eternity may roll away its ample ages that it but never will this event be forgotten ;-this event, to which the heaven will owe perhaps more than half its inhabitants; and all the praises of redeeming love, in which those inhabitants will for ever join ;-this event, to which multitudes, countless as the sands on the sea shore, will ascribe their fellcity, through ages without end ;-this event, to which the la hosts of angels will owe all their intimacies, and friendship, un and mutual joy with the spirits of the just ;—this event, to which even Ğod will owe all the rich revenue of glory, tha as the God of salvation will accrue to him through all eternity: What is the creation of man compared with this ? what the formation of a world compared with this? What even ! creation of cherubim and seraphim, and all the sons of light. That they
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? What even the
THE SAVIOUR'S DEATH.
265 compared with this ! Their creation would never have called forth songs of eternal praise, so fervent, so lofty, so expressive of infinite benefits, as this event will elicit. And glorious as God shines when he appears the Creator of cherubim and seraphim, of angels, archangels, principalities, and powers, yet their creation would never have invested him with half that glory, which shines around him, as a just God and yet a Saviour. And shall that one amazing, astonishing, overwhelming event, the atoning death of Jesus, thus be remembered to eternity in worlds of light-thus to eternity fill heaven with its sweetest praise, and invest the character of God with its most radiant glories shall the hearts and songs of the redeemed be full of it for ever and ever—and shall we not remember it with gratitude and delight-Will you not listen to him who says, “ Do this in remembrance of me?".
$ 4. Perhaps you have done it with repeated delight. Persevere: do it till he come to call you from the sorrows of time, to all the blessings of eternal life. But perhaps I address one that has hitherto lived careless of this sacred ordinance, and disobedient to the Saviour's will. Why do you act thus ? Perhaps you reply,
Obj. 1. I apprehend I am not fit to approach the Lord's table, and partake of an ordinance so solemn. · Ans. This objection must spring either from a consciousness that you are a stranger to converting grace, or from incorrect views of the gospel of Christ.
If you are a stranger to converting grace; if you know not. what it is to flee from sin and ruin to the Saviour; if you are the slave of allowed sin; then indeed you are unfit to approach this sacred table. But while this is your condition, you are unfit for heaven, and are really and truly fit for hell. The same remark will apply if you know that you are not decided in your acceptance of the Saviour, but halting between him and the world ; an almost-Christian, and no more. You are unfit; but then the reason is, you have no part in Christ : you are unfit for heaven, and if you die as you are, sure of not entering there.
But perhaps your fear springs from incorrect views of the gospel. When one who professes to love and follow Christ says, I am not worthy to approach his table, it seems to show that the heart is yielding to a self-righteous bias, and that the 266
OBJECTIONS TO ATTENDANCE professed believer, instead of seeking acceptance wholly in Jesus, is depending on some fancied personal worthiness. It is not as a worthy creature, but as an unworthy, yet penitent, believer, that you should commemorate the Saviour's death. What does the ordinance point out to you, which has any reference to a worthiness of yours? Is not its very design to remind you, that when you were yet a condemned sinner, an ungodly creature, without strength, Christ died for you.
Perhaps you add,
Obj. 2. I am not absolutely convinced that it would be improper for me to attend to this holy ordinance; but I have many scruples respecting the propriety of my doing so.
Ans. Your scruples are either well founded, or without sufficient foundation. If they are well founded, you sin in living in such a state as gives occasion for them. If there is no sufficient ground for them, you sin if you do not endeavour their removal. Were you heir to a rich estate, but had some doubts about the title-deed, would you not have sought with earnestness the best advice you could obtain upon the subject? Have you done so on a subject of infinitely more importance ? Have you disclosed your scruples to your minister, or other intelligent and pious persons ? If you have not, it seems that the case truly is this you care little whether you rebel against the Saviour's authority or obey his sacred precepts.
Obj. 3. It is true I have neglected communion with the church of Christ; but the cause of my neglect has been the wickedness of some, that were professors of religion.
Ans. Will this excuse avail you at the day of judgment? If they have been hypocrites, will this justify you in rebellion? Suppose that the apostle Paul, when ordered by the Saviour to preach the gospel, had replied, No, Lord; in secret I will love thy gospel, but I will never preach it; for Judas preached it once: nor will I ever join thy people; for Judas once belonged to them. What would the Saviour have thought of him ? If boundless mercy had not changed him, he would have been left to go on in pride and disobedience, and with all his professed love to the gospel, to travel to perdition. If you rebel against Christ's authority because some false professors have dishonoured him, take care lest this should be your case.