« PrécédentContinuer »
admitted through the Blood of Jesus into the Holy of Holies. Its symbols are the Creed, the Offertory, and the Prayer for the Church Militant. In the first, we offer up our minds in reverent submission to that body of truth "unto which we were delivered; "' in the second, our bodies in laborious devotion to His service; and in the third, our spirits in earnest intercessions for His Kingdom. Each of these demands a few words of explanation.
Sacrifice of the Mind. (The Creed.)—The recitation of the Creed is our loyal response to the word, "Thou shalt love the LORD thy GOD with all thy mind." Creeds are "acts of devotion, psalms, hymns of praise, of confession, and of profound selfprostrating homage, parallel to the Canticles of the elect in the Apocalypse. Our repetition of the Creed, then, is no mere acquiescence in GOD'S truth, but an act of love towards it, "calling forth our energies, directing their application, exacting their service." In its opening words, "I believe," we pledge ourselves to a more earnest search into its meaning; we lay our intellects upon GOD's altar, confessing openly that the great facts in which we profess our faith are those which to us are of first and last importance. But we go further. The full phrase, "I believe in," expresses more than that 2 Newman," Grammar of Assent," p. 129. 9 Westcott, "Historic Faith," p. 27.
1 Rom. vi. 17.
certain facts are true and demand our allegiance. It speaks of a personal relationship with the Divine Persons of the Godhead, and confesses, "I have found, and I trust without reserve, Him who made, redeemed, and sanctifies me."1
Sacrifice of the Body. (The Offertory and Oblation of Bread and Wine.)-This homage and selfsurrender is not confined to the intellect and imagination: it expresses itself in gifts. We give to GOD and we give to man. The Eucharist depends upon our offerings. He still asks, "How many loaves have ye?" "He cannot begin until we men bring Him something. His material comes from us. We are to offer the bread which is to be to us the Bread from Heaven, the Blessed Bread of GOD. We are to offer the wine which is to be to us the Blood of our LORD Jesus Christ. This is the first great oblation—Nature offering through us, her priests, her gifts. Our act confesses what we say in words, "All things come of Thee, O LORD, and of Thine own have we given Thee." But this is made the more real to us by our own individual offerings. That “which we have laid by according as GOD hath prospered us," we give, not grudgingly, nor of necessity, but cheerfully, with thanksgiving. Our words of faith pass into actions. We offer up
1 Westcott," Historic Faith," p. 24.
2 H. S. Holland, "Creed and Character," p. 107.
the results of our daily work in acknowledgment that our harvest is of GOD who gives the increase. present what we call the secular side of life. We lift up in thanksgiving the routine of the counting house, the drudgery of household service, the toil of manual labor," and lo! the light is on it, and glory embraces it, and there is joy among the angels of GOD over the heart that gives thanks.”1
Sacrifice of the Spirit. (Prayer for the Church Militant.)—But we cannot stay here: not yet is our first thanksgiving complete. We have made grateful recollection of GOD's undoubted works in our behalf; we have acknowledged in an act of thanksgiving what we call His temporal mercies; we must now praise Him for the hope of glory. Nowhere does this shine out more conspicuously than in the love of His Saints. They reflect the glory of GOD. Each Saint receives and shows some trait of the perfect Manhood of his Master. Slowly, and through manifold energies, the members of Christ show us the grandeur and beauty of the One Life by which they are inspired." The earth is filled with His glory. So we learn to bless GOD's Holy Name for all His servants departed this life in His faith and fear. So we call up in grateful memory saints whom we have known, to give definiteness to
1 H. S. Holland, "Creed and Character," p. 307.
our thanksgiving. And, doing this, we are filled with a great hope. The wonderful possibilities of human life are clear before us; for all men are equally dear to GOD, all equally capable of being blessed. The whole human race is irradiated with the glory of the Saints. And we learn to give thanks for all men, and to pray with confidence. So taught, in spite of our many and unhappy divisions, we can pray for unity; in spite of failures, we can pray for all Christian rulers, all bishops and other ministers, and all GOD's people, wherever they be; in spite of the hardness which pain and want produce, we can ask in hope for consolation for all those who are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity. Our thanksgiving for all GOD's Saints inspires hope, and hope breaks into fervent petitions for the whole state of Christ's Church militant.
IN THE HOLY PLACE.
The Offering of Praise.-Introduction.-There is a marked difference between the Holy Place and the outer court. The altar of incense speaks of a more spiritual worship; the embroidered hangings worked with the figures of angels remind us of those glorious beings whom we summon to help
us in our praise; the seven-branched candlestick with its brilliant lights warns us of the Light of GOD, in which we not only have a truer knowledge of Him, but also of ourselves; and the Table with its Bread of the Presence promises a blessed Communion.
(a) The Call. (The Exhortation.)—In the first of these the dominant note of this part of the service is clearly heard. Above all things ye must give most humble and hearty thanks to GOD, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for the redemption of the world by the death and passion of our Saviour Christ." This thanksgiving which is made in “the Sanctus" at once points to a more difficult task than that in which we have been engaged. We can serve when we cannot praise. The slave may do the duty that lies before him, but only the son or friend can praise. Praise implies full confidence and true sympathy. It bespeaks insight. We cannot praise the sonata unless we are musical, or the picture unless we have artistic instincts. As nature will not rouse our enthusiasm unless we have eyes to see her beauty, so none can see GOD except the pure in heart.' Hence the first appeal is to self-examination and penitence. We must acknowledge our sin and be absolved from it before we can give
1 S. Matt. v. 8. Heb. xii. 14.