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above ground, and meantime sending out independent rootlets for their separate life, when they shall be prepared for it. The baptism of the children is a consecration of them in our own behalf, as a new development of our own lives, and as our richest treasure. And there is a higher privilege for those who are wise to know it. Acting for them, we may give them baptism in the highest significance in which we receive it ourselves. As we put the Lord's prayer into their mouths, we may put the Lord's seal upon their foreheads. And when, in maturity, they recognize and confirm it, it has the double sanction of our choice and of their own. For it makes no difference what space of time intervenes, whether moments, hours, or years, between the baptism and the confession of faith. In many churches there is a regular interval of a week between; in all, some moments elapse. The apostles had been baptized, if at all, months before they sat down in the upper chamber. And the act done in childhood, by one appointed of God to act for me in all solemn affairs, when acknowledged and assented to by me in maturity, is as valid and as truly mine as though my consent preceded the act.

The sacrament of the Lord's supper holds even a more distinctive place than baptism in Christian worship.

The fundamental idea of it is to be found in the ancient sacrifices. It represents and gathers up into itself the meaning of the sacrifices of expiation especially, and of the paschal lamb, whose body was broken and eaten at the passover. It is a memorial of many events, and a pledge of union with the Lord and of communion with believers.

(1) In the first place this sacrament is a solemn proclamation of the death of Christ as an atonement for sin. "As oft as ye do this, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." The service is of the nature of a scenic representation of the great sacrifice of the Lamb slain. The emblems are consecrated by special prayer, as the victim was set apart for sacrifice. The bread is broken, as was the body; the wine poured out, as the blood was poured forth. We offer all

before God. By these symbols we show to him the sacrifice in which we trust for the expiation of our sins. We do it in the sight of men, proclaiming that the sacrifice has been made which is our atonement.

Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, is the truth for all time. This truth of a sacrificial atonement is perpetuated by these solemn symbols. We do not seek out a spotless lamb for expiation. But the reason is not because a bleeding sacrifice is not a spiritual form of worship; it is spiritual; but because God hath chosen for us a lamb. And we employ these expressive symbols to show this blessed fact. By participating in the sacrament wę appropriate to ourselves the atonement. It is a symbolical act of laying our hands upon the lamb as our expiation and of being sprinkled with his blood. Here is the inexpressible value of the service. "Unless ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in you." This personal participation in the sacrifice, as of a lamb slain, is what is so vital in the sacrament.

(2) The Lord's supper has a second significance as a solemn memorial. "This do in remembrance of me," recalls to mind our Saviour and all he has done; it recalls his teachings and his life. By faith we feed upon the bread which came down from heaven. As bread and wine are incorporated in our bodies, so the life of our Lord, his doctrines, his example, are received by us. We are symbolically united to him, and he enters into us.

This is a special memorial of the scenes of the suffering and death when it was instituted. We are reminded of what our Redeemer has endured in our behalf; of the garden, the hall of judgment, the scourging, and crowning with thorns, and nailing upon the cross.

The passover feast was in memorial of the deliverance from Egypt. The Jew was bidden to tell his children that story, as often as the feast was celebrated. And all the story of our wretchedness and free deliverance is called to mind as often as we partake of our paschal lamb. Of such, and of many other things, it is a great memorial.

(3) And then it is the symbol and pledge of personal discipleship. It is the token and public act of membership in his church. We do it in his name. By eating and drinking at his table we pledge our love and our lives to him. The most solemn sanction was given in the eastern world by breaking bread together. And this is the act by which our membership in the family of our heavenly Father is perpetually declared. It is the children's bread. Our Lord hath spread the feast; we come by his invitation, as his friends; and thus he gives himself to us.

Many lay chief stress on this sacrament as the token of church membership. This is only one, and one of the least significant, of its meanings. As the showing forth of Christ's death, as the self-appropriation of the sacrifice, as the memorial of him and of our redemption, it is more significant.

(4) And then it is a delightful pledge of union with Christ and of communion with believers. One of the most peculiar things in this service is the nearness in which it brings Christ to us. The Romish doctrine of the real presence is an attempt to express this vital fact of the eucharist. But Romanists grasp the shadow and lose the substance. The material body of Jesus was not the Lord. The change of the bread into that body, if such a change were conceivable, would not bring Christ to us. It was not the material body which the apostles shared. It is Jesus Christ present to their knowledge and present to their feelings; Christ conversing with them, and showing himself to their hearts. And we cannot, by preaching or by meditation or by prayer, have such vivid conceptions of a present Saviour, understand him so truly, and have our hearts so drawn out in fulness of worship and of communion as in this hallowed sacrament. "Handle me and see," said the Lord. We are handling the symbols of that which is peculiar, of the sacrifice and of the sufferings and of the life which is imparted.

And this as a feast with friends and kindred in Jesus. The sacrifice of old ended in a feast. The paschal lamb

was eaten. And the fellowship with those who hold the same Saviour is expressed by sitting together in heavenly places; Christ being at the head, and all being brethren.

It is not from undervaluing the two great sacraments, but it is rather unconsciously, that they are sometimes treated as incidental and subordinate, instead of being made the culminating point of divine worship. They are the most solemn recognition of God in his most glorious characteristics and most endearing relations. We offer no such prayer as when we give our lives to him in baptism. There is no such praise as when Christians consecrate their offspring to their Lord. Language cannot frame a doxology so sublime as when body and soul are thus dedicated into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Our confessions of faith, our repetitions of creed, are as nothing by the side of taking the body broken and the blood shed, and showing them before God and angels and men as our propitiation, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus. The approach of God to men which, as Charnock says, is so essential in worship, is never so realized as at the table of our Lord. This, by eminence, is the communion. The glory which hovered over the holy of holies, the cloud which shadowed the presence of God in the temple, was not so real and intimate and precious a manifestation as Christ promises to those who come up to the feast.

While the four particulars we have named, of prayer and praise, the presentation of offerings, reading the scriptures and preaching, and the celebration of the sacraments, are the essential constituents of Christian worship, it is not meant, as has been said, that each of these must enter into every public service. But care must be taken that in the complete circle of worship each bears its part.

A mistake is often made in judging how largely the devotional element prevails in our churches by looking simply at the services on the Sabbath and in the sanctuary. The predominant element here is perhaps the sermon. But for a right estimate it is necessary to include the services

which are held for almost purely devotional exercises, the prayer-meetings and concerts of prayer. In these "conference meetings," what seems a deficiency in our public worship is so fully supplemented that one may safely say there is a greater preponderance of the elements of worship in our churches than in many churches in which worship is thought by casual observers to be more prominent. Yet it may admit of a question whether it is not desirable to bring something out of our prayer-meetings into the general service of the Sabbath; and whether there are not important parts of public worship which we should do well to make more account of. No instrumentality can be contrived so effective for the spiritual renewing of men as a true and complete service of Christian worship.

Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and Amen.





(Concluded from p. 512.)


ALL Calvinistic divines believe in the necessity of regeneration, i. e. of a radical change of character; and they believe that whenever it takes place, the primary efficient cause is the Holy Spirit. But this doctrine had to a great extent been lost sight of during that deep spiritual declension which prevailed previously to the "great awakening." The fathers of New England theology aimed to restore or give greater prominence to this cardinal truth of the gospel.

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