Page images

members, instead of suffering with which necessitate its temporary manione another, and caring one for festation. Hearts that burn with one another, are foolishly and wickedly affection ought often to beat within the disputing one another's claims to be sound of one another's pulsations. members of the body at all.

Hands that clutch the same Cross It was surely in wise and affection- ought often to grasp one another. ate foresight of this sad tendency to Eyes that gaze on the same Saviour disunion that the Master instituted ought not to have cold glances for one ordinance by which the essential one another. All relationship involves oneness of the Church should ever be obligation, and the highest and shown forth. At the first celebra- nearest relationship involves the most tion of this supper, there was most sacred and lasting obligation. Know probably but one“ loaf” and one cup. you any nobler, truer bond of kinIt was thus, in the truest sense, a ship than that which makes us communion of the body and blood brethren in Christ Jesus? If not, then of Christ-a joint participation of I beg you to remember that there is the merits and virtues of His sacri- a duty belonging to our kinship—a fice and spirit. And such it was duty from which there is no escape designed ever to be for the whole -a duty which Christ has made band of disciples. The act of a more imperative by the new comjoint participation in one symbol mand given to us, that we should is designed to keep in clearest pos- love one another as He has loved us sible distinctness the fact of oneness in -a duty which involves, therefore, Christ. The relationship of believers not words, but acts of sympathyone to another is not a fancy or a not professions, but proofs of brothertheory—it is a fact. Acknowledged or liness—not the cherishing of love, ignored, there is the oneness—one but the expression of love by deeds Lord, one faith, and one baptism; and, of self-sacrifice, kindred in spirit to therefore, that oneness must be real- those of Christ. ized-it must be felt and shown. The Lord's Supper will ever serve to pre- III. The Lord's Supper as an Anvent its being altogether overlooked. ticipation : its Meaning in Relation to But one purpose contemplated in the the Future. institution of that ordinance will be “ Ye do show forth the Lord's frustrated, if the exhibition of Chris- death till he come.tian unity at the Lord's table and in the The Lord's Supper points not only sanctuary do not lead to a more con- to the past, but to the future also. stant exhibition of that unity at every It has not only a commemorative, table, and wherever Christians can but also a prophetic meaning. It assemble. It would be strange if the leads us back to the dying and deconsciousness of relationship among parting Lord; it leads us forward to the different members of a family were the living and returning Lord. It allowed to show itself only on stated carries us within the mournful preoccasions, and in certain formal acts. cincts of Gethsemane, and into the The adhesive force of a common affec- darkness that enwrapped Calvary. It tion ought certainly to overpower all carries us also within the walls of the influences tending to separation. And New Jerusalem, and into the brightness so the consciousness that we are by and splendour of the marriage supper faith the sons of God, and joint heirs of the Lamb. You will call to mind with Christ, ought to reveal itself the prophecy which our Lord added, under other circumstances than those when He gave the cup to His dis

ciples, “I will not drink henceforth bread and the cup from our hands. of this fruit of the vine, until that We think of the last time when they day when I drink it anew with you sat with us at the table of the Lord; in my Father's kingdom.

and it seems, as we look back to Now, whatever the immediate re- that thrice sacred hour, that we hear ference of that language may be, it them saying, “Let not your heart be is certainly allowable to regard it as troubled ; I go away from you, but the Saviour's solemn pledge and pre- we shall meet yonder !” diction of a renewal in heaven of the For as we think of any act of comcommunion He was then enjoying munion with the departed children with His disciples on earth. It is of God, we know that the outward the prediction of a renewal in heaven and visible act was only the token of the communion of earth, and of of a deep and sacred fellowship of the enjoyment of a communion in spirit. That fellowship, we know, heaven richer and more perfect than death cannot destroy. If death that of earth.

cannot separate us from Christ, it 1. The Lord's Supper is the pledge cannot separate us from one another. of a renewal in heaven of the commu- And so we look forward and upward, nion of earth.

in most blessed confidence and hope The Saviour knew, when He ut- that the time will come when we tered the words just quoted, that at shall drink the fruit of the vine the next communion of the disciples new with all those who have at any He at least should be absent. But time united with us to show forth He says, Do not grieve for that ab- the Lord's death. sence as if it were to be eternal. 2. But the communion of heaven Look onward; I shall come again will be not merely a renewal of that unto you. "I go to prepare a place of earth-it will be a richer and for you ; and if I go and prepare a more perfect communion. place for you, I will come again and Whatever the joy that filled the receive you unto myself, that where hearts of those who sat with Christ I am, there ye may be also.” He at His first supper, some feelings of promises that the act of fellowship sadness must have mingled with which was just then being concluded, their gladness. They hardly knew should be repeated—that the time the real character of the events that should come when they all who had were about to transpire. They had eaten of that bread and drunk of vague apprehensions of a coming trial that cup should again gather around for each and all, and of a terrible their Lord in the Father's kingdom. trial for their Lord. They felt that His giving and their taking that sorrow and death hovered very near symbol of His body and that symbol that upper room. But what awaited of His blood was the pledge of re- them they did not know,.-what union in person, as it was the sign of failures,—what disappointments their abiding union in spirit.

what hardships and persecutions And the Lord's Supper is to us should be theirs,—what storins they the pledge of a renewal in heaven should brave when this hallowed of our earthly communion. As we hour of calm and peace was gone, come together from time to time, they did not know. And so that we silently inark that one

one and

communion was not all joy; it was another of our beloved ones not a perfect fellowship. But it was absent. We remember how they the promise of a perfect communion : Once sat by our side, and took the “I will drink it new with you in


my Father's kingdom.” Not here, but in my Father's kingdom. Blessed are there, in the kingdom of my Father; they which are called unto the marnot this fruit of the vine, but a new riage supper of the Lamb !” and richer cup, we shall share there. Now, were these words spoken only to Feast after feast thus comes and passes by ; the eleven? Nay, I think they are Yet, passing, points to the glad feast spoken to us all. Christ says to


Giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy~ us, as we meet together in obedience

The Lamb's great bridal feast of bliss and to His command, “Ye shall meet me love.


God has made everything beauti- of its race, and of other races? Nay, ful. The mere inert world of matter when there seem to be exceptions to is arranged into forms intended to this great law in the animal world, awaken admiration. Its hills and those exceptions will be found, on valleys, mountains and plains, lakes closer inspection, to be more apparent and rivers, sunny nooks and sheltered than real. In the forms which offend dingles, present a thousand features or even disgust the prejudiced and unon which the eye rests with a sense initiated, the naturalist does not fail to of joy and rapture. Nor is the old perceive much to detain and fascinate earth ever left without a suit of him. But of all animals, Man was apparel more or less gay and lovely. intended to be the most perfect and Robed in ever-varying herbage, the most beautiful. Good indeed the plumed with trees, crowned with creation was, and was felt and proflowers, she is the delight of all her nounced to be by the Creator, withchildren, many of whom are never out him; but with him it awoke a tired of admiring her beauties. deeper satisfaction, and received a Animal forms and colours present richer and grander benediction, as charms of a still higher order. Num- very good.” Our first parents, as berless insects, birds, fishes, beasts, they came from their Maker's hands, and reptiles, exhibit graces of mould, were perfect in constitution, structure, line, and motion, on which none can and symmetery. Milton portrays look without pleasure and wonder. them in language which none will Have you ever looked into the eye accuse of exaggeration : of a gnat through a microscope? If So, you have discovered a world of

"In their looks divine, beauty in that little globule. Or have

The image of their glorious Maker shoneyou examined the plumage on a

Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure. butterfly's wing through the same For contemplation he and valour formed ; medium? Can He be indifferent to For softness she, and sweet attractive grace ; the beautiful who has lavished so

He for God only, she for God in him:

His fair large front and cye subļimc dcmuch of it on this tiny and frail clared creature, and on the untold millions Absolute role;l and hyacinthine locks 9'. Round from his parted forelock manly has never ceased to exhibit the dehung

gradation and the anguish of that hour. Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad.

The body is little more than a casket; She, as a veil, down to the slender waist it is the man within that gives it the Her unadorned golden tresses wore character it bears. Satan, envious of Dishevelld, but in wanton ringlets waved, a beauty which he himself had lost, As the vine curls her tendrils." * Paradise Lost," b. iv.

struck to the ground this handiwork

of God, and it rose up the poor im. And again, for the great poet is potent maimed thing we see it now. never tired of painting this primitive Every defect in man's frame, whether beauty

seen in others or felt in ourselves,

should raise our resentment against "Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her the author of the fall. And let the eye,

man, with his crushed heart, go up In every gesture dignity and love."

Ibid, b. viii.

to God in cries of pain and sorrow

for that healing balm which, by Of all the beauties of the human bringing him inward restoration, can form, those assembled on the counte- build up his broken form strong and nance were no doubt originally the fair, perfect and beautiful, even as most perfect. His brow, where holy it was at the beginning. thought was ever to have sat ma- For RELIGION is intended to make jestic; his eye, formed to drink in mankind beautiful again. Its office and reflect the light of heaven ; his is to restore and renovate from its mouth, speaking words of grace and foundations this ruined temple of wisdom, inviting and returning love; the Divinity. The counterwork of the whole ensemble of his features infernal malice, it is destined to undo proclaimed this last child of dust as all the mischief which that malice the most complete and wonderful of has inflicted on our nature. Beginall God's works on earth. Nor are ning with the spiritual, it goes on to we even yet left without some faint involve the psychical, and ends with reminiscences of his pristine state. the physical, parts of our constituIn a few rare instances we have tion. And although each part of beauties as if they came fresh from this great work may have its own Paradise still. The “human face moment of commencement and comdivine” has occasionally some pletion, yet the whole process goes touches of its old grandeur and of on simultaneously, and the new ex• its old loveliness in it; while memo- pression and the altered countenance ries of the early creation, consciously not seldom bear witness to the reor unconsciously, continue to visit newed heart. Nor should this work the human heart in that warm love be retarded even in its external of the beautiful which seems to be manifestations. People need not be an innate principle of our nature, and afraid of being too good-looking. which a little cultivation seldom fails Let others see the Christ in their to evoke.

faces and in their characters, and It was sin that spoiled the world, they will not fail to see something but chiefly the world of men. Every to love. It is too bad to expect love defect in the human form has its without trying to merit it; and yet counterpart and its cause in the those who merit it least are often the human spirit. We were all bruised,

We were all bruised, first to grumble that so little of it injured, and marred in Adam when falls to their share. There are faces, he fell. The human face especially it must be confessed, which make

your chin.

unconscionable demands on human the acid from the heart and the charity. The wonder is, that they Wormwood from the temper, then have power to move it at all. It is neither of them will be seen in the most true that the eye sees in an eye or on the lips. object what it brings with it the Whatever may be their peculiaripower to see; and this must account ties, there are some things that are for it that superlatively kind natures always beautiful in men. Intelsee something to love in all. In ligence is one of them. Not the many cases, however, it can only be fancied wisdom which makes them the love of pity; admiration must be pert and conceited—this is always altogether out of the question. Do repulsive, and is very much in the you want to be commiserated ? Then line of being puppyish ; but real make your face very sour and very intelligence,--the waking up of the long, and your object is gained, so intellectual life of the man, revealing far as your pious friends are con- itself more or less in every expression cerned. But if you want something of his face. The plainest countemore than commiseration, get suffi- nance is beautiful in the light thus cient alkali to neutralise the vinegar, given to it; and this is a method of and a little gratitude and cheerful improvement open to us all. It reness, or sometimes even a good quires neither great learning nor hearty laugh, to diminish the dreary elaborate culture; what it does redistance between your forehead and quire is a mind open to attract and

prompt to retiect whatever light may Good Christians should improve visit its sphere. Dulness and stutheir faces--there can be no doubt pidity are forms of repulsion for about that. Many of them have at which little excuse can be pleaded, first (indeed, some of them all and on account of which, at any rate through) little more than the rudi- in our day, few would be entitled to ments—the mere raw material, as one appeal to our sympathy. Persistent may say-of a good face. Poor ignorance, where there are so many inthings! Some of their number not ducements to seek information, will only remind you of the old plea- be found in most cases to be a fault santry about grace grafted on a crab- of the individual rather than a mistree, but make you suspect that crabs fortune incident to his position in life. and verjuice must enter largely into Another step in the same directheir diet every day. Far for ever

tion will be found in the proper be it from us to regard with any government of the passions, and the thing but tenderness the countenance due control of the heart. Few which has been disfigured by hard things revolt us more in the counship or marred by grief. It is the tenances of men than pride, resentexpression of discontentment, bad ment, anger, and sensuality. These, temper, low passions, and hardness or either of them, may be in never of heart, against which our feelings so small a degree, and yet they will rise in rebellion; and we feel it betray themselves; and they are real almost like a wrong when we are

deformities to whatever extent they expected to pay the homage of admi- may exist. All infants are beautiful, ration to faces marked by any of and that chiefly because they have these. The only way of improve- no bad passions to express. Unment in such cases is to improve the soured by contact with the world, character, when all the rest will fol- they find ready admission to alınost low as a matter of course. Extract every heart.

every lieart. Yet it must be con

« PreviousContinue »