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that the righteous shall, in the great day of judgment, “shine forth
" shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father?” Without this faith, this unreserved confidence in the promises of God made through his son Jesus Christ, all religion totters to the ground: 66 We walk by faith not by sight.”
This is true even in a temporal sense. The commonest occurrences of every day life are anticipated, and expected, upon the principle of faith. We go forth from our dwellings and return again in faith that we shall find them safe, and that no plague shall have come nigh them in our absence; we commit seed in the spring-time to the earth, in faith that in harvest time it will bring forth fruit for our use and for our sustenance.
We lay ourselves down upon our bed at night, and though darkness shall cover the earth, yet it is by faith that we know another sun shall rise, and the earth shall again be lighted by his golden colours, and man again go forth to his labour until the evening. All this, though ordinary and common, and happening every day, yet it is faith looking to the future, originated and confirmed by our experience of the past.
If it is true then in temporal things, how much more is it true in spiritual things. Our experience of God's goodness in the past; our experience in the details of his dealings
with men, as given in the scriptures, must lead us
to believe what he says will be his dealings in the future. Our knowledge of his wisdom, his power, his mercy in the transactions of the world, and our own personal cases, must lead us to expect the same wisdom, and power, and mercy, to be continued ; and when see his only Son Jesus Christ, descend upon earth as man, giving testimony of his truth by wonderful miracles, and sealing that testimony by a voluntary and ignominious death — upon faith we proceed immediately to acknowledge that these extraordinary facts could not have taken place without an object, and then finding that this object is openly announced, and that the object so
announced tallies with the rest of God's transactions with the world, what can we do but throw ourselves implicitly upon the promises which he has given, and look forward with as much certainty to the glories of eternal life, as we do to the common transactions of the world as they are developed from day to day.
We approach therefore the Lord's table with this faith, this entire dependance on the word of God, this firm conviction in our own minds of the reality, of the efficacy, of the certainty of salvation to be procured by the death of Christ. We must be sure that it is the only way (because he says so) by which salvation can be procured, that there is no other name under heaven given to man whereby he may
be saved, but only the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we think that one good deed will compensate for another evil deed, that one day righteously spent, will be a set off against another spent
spent unrighteously. If we think that the mercy of God can visit us by any other channel than by the merits and death of his Son. If we say, as the Pharisee, “I thank God I am not as other men are, and thereby claim merit for our own good actions, how can we in that case be approaching the altar with that faith which is necessary to salvation ?
we shall be robbing the Son of God of his glory, we shall be taking from him his share in the salvation of the world, and shall be, in fact, saying to him, “We should have done as well without thy sacrifice.” But if we lay aside all considerations of self-righteousness, if we trust to the atonement wrought only by him whose death we commemorate, if we feel our hearts depressed by the burden of our sin, and at the same time are conscious that Jesus is the only one who can relieve us from that burden, if we feel and are sure that from all our errors, negligences, and ignorances, the blood of the lamb shall cleanse us, if we think and know that he was bruised for our
iniquities, and that by his stripes we healed, that he, and that he alone, hath blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, nailing it to his cross, that in that he died, he died unto sin once, but in that he liveth he liveth unto God, that he hath ascended on high and led captivity captive, and that he now standeth at the right hand of God, and maketh intercession for the transgressors.—If, I say, these great things we look upon as certain, and believe to be facts as told us by God, and then transfering the record of the past, to the fulfilment which is to take place in the future, personally to ourselves. If we can say: “I feel that these things belong to me as well as to others; I feel that when Jesus Christ died he died for me, and that when after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; I feel that when this mortal soul shall put on immortality, and corruption shall put on incorruption, then, in my case, as well as in others, shall be brought to light the saying—Death is swallowed up in victory,'—I wait for this, I know it will come to pass, and when it does come to pass, I know it will come to pass solely, entirely, and unreservedly through the merits of that blessed Redeemer whose body and blood I see before me on the altar of my God, and which, in obedience to his command, I eat and drink in token of
Such are the thoughts which Jesus would have his disciples to possess. Such recollections of the past will furnish the communicant with joyful anticipations for the future. The past and future connected together by the present, will lead the mind to that pure and peaceful state of happiness, which constitutes the peace of God passing man's understanding. He will look up to God no longer as the stern and uncompromising exactor of the law, but as the merciful and beneficent author of grace. He will look upon himself no longer as the lost and abandoned creature which he deserves to be, but as the ransomed of the Lord, the pardoned, and the free. He will go on from strength to strength, from grace to grace.
He will wait for that “ blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.” And now
we have gone through all the qualifications which are necessary for a right approach to the holy table of the Eucharist. On these must every man question and examine his own heart and understanding, before he presume to visit it. Supposing that we are duly qualified by the general rites of the church by baptism, and by confirmation, the only thing then necessary for each