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preserving body and soul unto everlasting life, rests upon the efficacy of that sacrifice which was made by Him crucified, and which, by his own express command, is to be thus commemorated-can we believe this, and yet turn away from such a benefactor, and virtually slight the sacrifice, by slighting the ordinance of which He, who offered the sacrifice, enjoined the observance for ever? Nay, forbid it every better feeling of which man is capable ! Duty and love, honour and gratitude, combine to bring us with all humility to the holy table of the Lord; that there, with hearts and minds fixed upon the cross, we may partake in faith of those emblems of Him who died there; pledges of his grace there purchased for us, and his love there sealed to us. Are you a communicant in youth, for the first time appearing at the table of your Lord ? Approach gladly. The fountain of mercy opened on the cross washeth away all sin, truly repented of; supplieth grace to all who need, and to the extent needed; preserving the faithful, soul and body, unto life everlasting. Partake thou, then, joyfully of this cup of blessing; drink it in remembrance that the blood which it represents was " shed for thee; and be thankful."
Perhaps the Christian knows no such moment of peace, never so fully shares the glowing rapture of the Patriarch, in his more immediate communing with Jehovah'--never approximates more nearly to that blessed state of feeling which the Apostle describes as having his conversation in heaven, than when he closes this part of his holy service. He has himself partaken in faith of the body and blood of his Redeemer; and
1 Gen. xxviii. 17.
thereby, as he humbly trusts, " is one with Christ, as Christ with God." Transformed by the renewing of his mind,“ old things are passed away--behold! all things are become new." What clearing of himself has there been ! He wonders that ever this world, with its vain views and wishes, its vain fears and hopes, should have had the mastery over him. He is filled now with good resolutions; he is strong in faith, that the grace he has sought and found will enable him to bring the same to good effect; and, so strengthened, he
prepares again to engage in his worldly calling, and do his duty in that state of life to which it may have pleased his heavenly Father to call him-not as unto man, but as unto God.
Duly, however, to regulate this happy feeling, the Church still further guards him against those temptations of the world, which yet await him when he returns even to the appointed duties of it. Hers is the anxious maternal care, whose constant aim is to fortify her sons against coming danger. She therefore leads him and his fellow-communicants to their heavenly Father, that from Him they may ask and gain both his preventing and following grace; so shall evil be either removed or overcome.
For this purpose they are directed with one voice as with one heart, to offer that only perfect form of words which their Saviour did himself frame for them, and which, we all humbly trust, can never be offered in vain by the sincere and faithful supplicant'.
Upon the character and general excellency of this prayer, the reader is referred to a note in page 108.
THE LORD'S PRAYER.
O Thou, our Father which art in heaven," yet who deignest to spread for thy children on earth a rich table with a feast of good things, and dost welcome them, thy family, that by partaking thereof in faith, they may both remember Him who for their sakes was contented to be betrayed and delivered up into the hands of wicked men, and suffer death ; and also may gain strength and refreshment to their souls for working out their salvation-0! heavenly Father, we desire to thank Thee and to praise Thee and to hallow thy name! And hath it not been hallowed in this service! With what humble faith, with what glowing hope, with what fervent and deep devotion have thine adopted children praised Thee, O Father; Thee, O Son; Thee, O Holy Ghost-the one only God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being; and who “hast holden us up,” soul and body, “ever since we were born!" "Our praise shall be always of Thee?”—for ever “ hallowed be thy name !"
And in honour of that name, reverencing the laws of thy spiritual kingdom on earth, and looking to the future revelation of thy kingdom of glory in heaven, our hearts, as they rejoiced to bow before thy throne in this solemn service, and to receive thence thy laws, were raised in earnest prayer that thy kingdom of grace might be extended over all the world. May we, thy faithful subjects, who have here pledged our fidelity, never forfeit our pledge. May we uphold ourselves in the truth by looking to that hour, in which though now we be a Church militant, contending for the laws of thy spiritual kingdom, that it be established in righteousness here, we shall be admitted, a Church triumphant in heaven, to share thy kingdom hereafter, when it shall be established for ever in glory! O Father! may “thy kingdom come !" We have joined too with angels and archangels in singing praise to thy great name-grant that in sharing the praises of those heavenly intelligences, we may also share their obedience. Emulating their zeal and their purity, their unity of purpose and heavenly harmony, let us also obey Thee because we love Thee! What if some, professing to be thy servants, have hitherto done their own will, not thine ; have day by day in solemn mockery from early years, offered this petition, but cared not to act upon it ! All is changed now. The heart is resolved, henceforth, to follow the motions of thy good Spirit, and offer in sincerity the petition,
1 Ps. lxxi. 5.
Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven”—If we could always feel as unshackled by the world as we do when engaged in this service; our heart having one only object, our Saviour and our God; easy indeed would be the duty of a holy and angelic obedience. When we further pray, “Give us, this day, our daily bread"--our petition is offered in mingled gratitude and humility. We thank our heavenly Father for this day's supply of spiritual manna: but in the strength now supplied we cannot stand unto the end. That would be to suppose us absolutely above future sin and infirmity. “O bounteous Father! who openest thine hand, and fillest all things living with plenteousness, vouchsafe thy bounty to us--and since day by day we need renovation to our spiritual life, give us there
fore day by day grace for our souls, even as day by day we pray Thee to give food for our bodies." And though we thus pray, not each one for himself only, but for all men, yet specially for “ this congregation here present :” and if among them, husband and wife and children and near friends be assembled, where is the heart which turneth not its thoughts to them, when the lips utter the supplication. By the strength thus supplied, we may hope for power to exercise the duties enjoined us, even to the forgive ness of our enemies, as we would be ourselves forgiven of God. Men of the most ardent spirit, under the deepest injury, may yet find motive for forgiveness, when they consider that they have by faith been to the foot of the cross, and there beheld the Being, who died for us all and sealed our pardon with his blood, upor that one condition that we first forgive others. Happy those whose heart is clear of revenge, and anger, and enmity! It is for them hopefully to pray—“ Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us'.” We here doubtless adopt the sentiment of the
1 Few things, as a mother's quick apprehension soon perceives, press more heavily upon the sensitive minds of the young, than when they find themselves the objects of enmity and ill will. If it so befal your children, guard them against permitting this painful feeling to interfere with their religious duties. Turn the occasion to good account. Use it as an opportunity of strengthening and elevating their tone of feeling and of action. Strive to raise them above the natural influence of indignation at injustice, or the desire of retaliation for injury. Remind them that the condition on which we petition pardon for ourselves would not have been introduced into a prayer intended for universal application, had it not been impossible for any one to pass through a sinful world, himself a sinner before God, without being exposed to various injuries, from the despitefulness of the proud-injustice, envy, malice, and other uncharitableness.