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believe in Christ, thou things as this
the person of Christ and His history whilst on earth, and certain doctrines based on those facts; but who have, as a whole, very little vital connexion with each other. This is the impression which would be derived from a view of Christendom in its present state. But this is not the true idea of the church of Christ. This is not what we mean, if we speak intelligently and scripturally, when we say, “I believe in the holy catholic church ; the communion of saints.” The church of Christ, though composed of so many members, is, in the sight of Him who sees things as they are, one compact individuality. The church is, conjointly with Christ, one undivided, living personality ; one exquisitely fashioned and intensely animated spiritual organism. When we speak of the mystical union subsisting between Christ and His church, we do not by “mystical ” mean metaphorical union. Mystical is not the antithesis of real. On the contrary, nothing can be mystical which is not profoundly real; more profoundly real than the phenomena of which man's senses and man's science can take cognizance. When, therefore, we speak of the mystical union of Christ and His church, we in no wise mean an unreal or ideal union, but a union resting upon facts not accessible to the senses and the science of man. Yet the facts on which this vital oneness of Christ's church rests are, none the less, substantive and appreciable facts. These are: 1. Each individual member of the church is livingly united with Christ. He is the Source and Sustainer of spiritual life to all who have that life : therefore they must be all one body, because they have all one Head; and that, not in figurative speech, but really, and as a matter of fact. There is a continuous current of life streaming from Christ to each of them ; to the weakest, the most ignorant, the most obscure, as well as to the strongest, the most advanced, the most distinguished.-2. They are all one, inasmuch as the life which is communicated to each and all of them is the same life; not only the same in its fountain, but also the same vital force, being the Spirit of God, in whom they “live” and “walk.” -3. They are one body, inasmuch as they are all necessary each to other; so much so, that no single believer can attain full growth, or retain vigorous spiritual health, without deriving help from the others. Still further : The collective church can accomplish its mission on earth only by the conjoint action of each member; because, whilst all have the same life, all have not the same gifts, the same special adaptation for the same special work; but each has his part assigned in the eye of the Great Head, and each is qualified by Him for that very part. Here, then, is a multitude of individuals, of all ranks in society, of every grade of intellect, all animated by the same spiritual life, all knit together by their common relationship to Christ; and, their mutual dependence being necessary to each and all, “ members one of another.” Now, of this oneness “the communion” is a most fitting acknowledgment and manifestation. Not that it is its only acknow
ledgment and manifestation, so that, having met at Christ's board, and partaken of His sacrifice, we may go away and quickly forget that ve belong to each other at all. On the contrary, if the communion be rightly received, it must always re-awaken and strengthen the family feeling of true Christianity. This must and will strive to manifest, to satisfy, to solace, and to perfect itself, in fellowship; and that, the closest and most cordial, the frankest and most genial, that can be attained. If“ faith without works is dead," what is love without fellowship ? “ Dead, being alone.” It is absurd, then, for any of us to say, “ Enough for me that I belong to Christ; and, being His member, I am also a member of His church, and at the sacrament of His supper I acknowledge my membership of Him and of His church.” No! If you have healthy, hearty life in Christ, you will yearn for intercommunion with "them that are Christ's." You will be eager for frequent and intimate converse with them. Like Joseph, you will make haste, for your bowels will yearn over your brethren. Feeling in your heart the strong pulse of consanguinity, you will discern, beneath the travel-soiled garments of their pilgrimage, the family likeness ; will see, amidst all personal peculiarities, the features of your Father; and you will long to bid away from you the world, that you may be often alone with your brethren, to talk about your common home and your unseen Head. You will be ashamed to “ forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is," on the plea, “ How can I meet and talk with people with whom I have no sympathy, between whom and me there is no congeniality of taste ? " -knowing, all the while, that these self-same“ people" are“ the people of God," having "fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” “When ye sin so against the brethren, ye sin against Ckrist."
So far, then, is the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper from superseding the necessity for any further communion of saints, in the feast of charity, and “the flow of soul,”-that, if it do not create a relish and a craving for such communion, we may be quite sure that we have entered but very imperfectly into the spirit of that Sacrament itself.
5. Christianity, again, enables us to "joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." The Lord's Supper is, moreover, the highest expression of that joy. Hence, another of its characteristic names, the Eucharist; that is, “ the blessing,” or “the thanksgiving.” Thus the Lord's Supper takes the place, not only of the Old Testament passover and peace-offering, but also of the thank-offering; all of which were to be eaten by the offerers. “ Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast.” Thus, on this one only recorded occasion,-at the institution of the Lord's Supper,—the Man of sorrows“sung a hymn,” or hymns, -the Paschal-Psalms, the triumphant Hosanna of God's liberated children. When is the voice of grateful melody so seemly? Well may we challenge each other over "the cup of blessing,"_“Let us give thanks unto our Lord God!” Well may we join the full chorus of the sky,—“Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious name, evermore praising Thee, and saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts !” Thus we comply with the exhortation, “ Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness." Well may we also re-echo the celestial carol,—“Glory be to God on high ; on earth peace, good-will toward men.” Well may we accumulate every expression of exulting gratitude: “ We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we magnify Thee, we give Thee thanks for Thy great glory.” Then, also, is brought to pass the saying that is written,“ They shall praise the Lord that seek Him: your heart shall live for ever.” As in Nehemiah's description of the great thank-offering at Jerusalem, on the return from captivity, “That day they offered, and rejoiced : for God had made them rejoice with great joy...... so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.” In the verse succeeding our text, the outside effect of this Christian jubilation is beautifully described : “All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee.” The pealing chant of God's exultant people is to wake the world. (Verse 28.) “For the kingdom is the Lord's : and He is the Governor among the nations. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship.” “ The rich," whom God had “sent empty away,” whilst He“ filled the hungry with good things,” will throng to the feast of the meek and the mourners, till (verse 29) “ all they that go down to the dust shall bow before Him; and "—that is, since—“none can keep alive his own soul.” From this festal centre the kingdom of Christ shall spread throughout all lands, and throughout all time. So, (verse 30,) “a seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that He hath done this.” Done what? Done everything, and done all things well. Christ's memorable-"It is finished !” shall evangelize the whole human race ; and the silver trumpet of invitation shall fill the wide world with the melody of the announcement, “Come! come! all things are now ready.”
Last of all: Christianity is consecration to God, from the constraint of Christ's dying love, and of God's love in Christ; and the last and crowning idea in this solemnity is that of cheerful and ardent selfdedication, thus expressed in the Communion-Service: “And here we offer and present unto Thee ourselves,” &c. In this sense, the Lord's Supper is “the Christian sacrifice.” The central truth of Christianity is stated by St. Paul in four words: “ One died for all.” And the necessary effect of this truth, on the hearts of all who lovingly receive it, he thus describes : “The love of Christ constraineth us; because we
thus judge, that if one died for all, then all died; and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.” That is, I Christ died as our Representative and Substitute, died for us, on our account, in our stead ; then it follows irresistibly, that when we, by faith, take up our interest in His death, we die with Him; we lose, fruia that moment, our old, guilty, selfish life, and pass into a new and nobler existence, and no longer live to ourselves, but to Him who died for us, and rose again for us, and ever liveth to undertake for us. When Christ on the cross cried, “It is finished," then, in the eye of Heaven's law, the guilt of every one of us was expiated; and at the same moment, in the claim of Heaven's love, the self-hood (if I may so speak) of every human soul was gone; that is, all claim of personal ownership and personal independence, all right of self-love, self-action, self-seeking, was gone from us for ever. If Christ's death were, in Fery deed, a representative death, of which we reap all the infinitude of gain, then our life should be a devoted life, of which all the glory shall be His. This was the very meaning and purpose of His death : to wit, “ that they which live"-live, and not die, as they must have done had not Christ died for them; live a grander and a diviner life than they could have imagined, but for the dying love of Christ * should not benceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.” Thus the Lord's Supper becomes our votive feast, as well as His; and each of us may take up his Redeemer's words, “I will pay my vows before them that fear Him."
Such, brethren, is the scriptural significance of the Lord's Supper. Other conceptions, unwarranted by Scripture, must never be allowed to draw our attention from this, or to divide our attention with it. All priestly pomp is an affront to the solemn simplicity and the profound significance of this blessed service. The injunction of our Saviour is as exclusive as it is emphatic, “ Do this in remembrance of me." It is no dutiful homage to a departed friend to invalidate the provisions of his will, by doing so much more than he directed as to violate the spirit of his directions. Were a dying parent to say, “Now, I should like you to place over my remains just a simple plain slab;" no one would think that the intention of the request was carried out by piling over the plain stone a gorgeous and glittering mausoleum. Through the like irreverent officiousness, that awful curse has fallen on many,—“Let their table become a snare before them; and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.” As for us, let us dismiss those perplexing polemics which have desecrated this solemnity, and say with David, “ Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies : Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth orer ;” and with Hooker, “ Why should any cogitation possess the mind of a faithful communicant, but this ? 'O my God, Thou art true; O my soul, thou art happy.'"* Thus we shall verify this lively oracle: “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek Him: your heart shall live for ever.”
LORD ARDMILLAN ON THE AUTHORITY OF CON
SCIENCE IN MATTERS OF FAITH. On a late occasion, Lord Ardmillan, at the request of the Girvan Town-Mission, delivered a lecture, in the course of which he said :It now remains for me to add a few words on the rights of conscience; or, in other words, the authority of conscience in matters of faith. The maxim, that “ God alone is Lord of the conscience,” is, or ought to be, recognised by all intelligent Protestants. This is the foundation of the claim of liberty of conscience. It recognises the supreme authority of God within the sphere of conscience, and it protests against any other authority within that sacred sphere. The triumph of conscience is always a good omen for the cause of truth, which can never prosper except through the medium of conscientious convictions. The surrender of conscience is always a great misfortune. Who, for instance, could calculate the extent of injury to the cause of common honesty, as well as of religion, if in 1843 those who professed as matter of conscience the principles of non-intrusion and spiritual independence had, when the crisis came, struck their colours and surrendered their convictions to preserve the advantages of Establishment ? I do not now speak of that disruption as a Free-Churchman, though the experience of fully twenty years has, to my own mind, confirmed the convictions on which we acted; but, I speak of it only as a sacrifice for conscience' sake; and, in that simple view of it, I do not hesitate to say, that, as a testimony and as an example, it has been a great blessing to Scotland, and to Christendom. In a civilized country, and especially in a free country with representative government, the law imposes and enforces restraint on conduct. These restraints are for the protection of society; and the scruples of individuals cannot be urged in defence of the violation of public law. The law may be itself objectionable; if so, it may be constitutionally altered; till altered, it must be obeyed. But human laws apply to conduct, which may be regulated ; and not to convictions, which cannot be forced. The sphere of belief is beyond the reach of human authority. The attempt to control belief must be vain, as well as wrong. Profession of belief may be insincerely made; acquiescence in a dogma or a system may be purchased or compelled; but belief itself, whether it be the result of . inquiry and of reasoning, or of direct spiritual impression, must spring from conviction. The mind and heart of the man, by whatever means