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ing the bread of life to the perishing, he made them but servants in administering the symbols of that bread.
The servant of the household must officiate in the capacity of a servant. He may not dictate who the Master shall invite as guests, or who shall be excluded from or admitted to his Master's table. Nor can the guests of his family assume the Master's authority over each other. The servant may act under instruction, and so may the guests. When the Master commands his disciples, the guests of his household, "This do in remembrance of me," the servant or the guest may not add or diminish aught from the fullness of the command. The command to all, is a command to each in his individual capacity.
There is no place on earth where exclusiveness is so repugnant to the spirit of the Gospel as at the communion table. Christians can unite in preaching the Gospel, but will not unite over the very body and in the presence of Christ-will not together remember him. Different denominations can worship together, until they approach nearest to the source of all worship and all love.
This exclusiveness is a wrong to each other and to Christ. Because Christians are not all one in Christ Jesus, the world will not believe that God hath sent his Son.
The evangelical alliance made this mistake-agreed to unite in theory but refused to unite in Christ. They admit the body but deny the Head.
II. The principles laid down by the apostle Paul, touching the sacrifice offered to idols, are directly pertinent to illustrate our subject.
If the man who has invited you to his table, says unto you, this is offered in sacrifice unto idols-then eat not, for his sake that showed it, and for conscience' sake.
If nothing is said, eat what is set before you, asking no questions for conscience' sake.
Duty is to be decided by individual conscience. So with reference to the Saviour's table-partaking or refusing belongs to the disciple to decide, as a conscience right of his own, and as responsible to his Master. If the officiating servant invites to the communion table only those of his own denominational faith, all others are by such invitation warned to withdraw, because the notice of a denominational sacrifice is given. The invitation is a due notice that all who love Christ are not welcome to the equal rights and privileges of the Christian family.
"This do in remembrance of me," is the Redeemer's command. Through his ministering servants this command is announced to as many as are present where the passover is prepared. Who shall obey and do this, the disciple must decide. With him our Saviour left the responsibility, of obeying or disobeying his will.
This is where the apostles left it, and by these precedents our duty is made plain.
If the disciple believes it to be his duty to commemorate the love of Christ as required; if the privilege is appreciated; if by self-examination and through faith he discerns the "Lord's body;" no Church has the right to exclude him from the sacramental board. He has solemnly confessed Christ before the world, and his right as a disciple no exclusiveness can innocently invade.
1. No church or denomination has any Christian right to build a wall of exclusiveness around the Saviour's table. Any Church has the right to prescribe its own rules of membership, its polity or discipline. Different denominations may set up their own standards and formulas. But the Lord's table is not the creature of a denomination or of a single Church. It is the Saviour's passover provided for his own children, where each has equal privileges. The feast is his by whomsoever it may be spread, and where the right of each child is derived from special invitation, given by the Head of the household. When the Master saith to his guests, "Eat this bread and drink this cup, in remembrance of me," who, as an equal guest only, shall assume to dictate conditions or countermand the requirement? Or what number of equal guests shall assume to exclude any other number of equal guests upon mere denominationalisms alone?
If every professed disciple were a true disciple, the guilt of violating the law of Christ would be greater than it now is. If all false disciples were embodied in the membership of one sect, and all others were pure and perfect, or if the heart of each disciple could be discerned in its true character- then might limits be set to the Lord's table without excluding any of his children. the tares and the wheat mingle in each Christian denomination. To make a perfect separation of them is impossible. Both must grow together until the great harvest day when angel reapers will separate them.
Inasmuch, then, as we can not exclude the false of our own sect, is it Christian or Christ-like to exclude the true of any other sect? Is it more acceptable to God to admit the false professors of our own denomination to the communion, than to admit the true disciples connected with other denominations?
3. Exclusiveness proclaims that our false disciples have rights at the Saviour's board which the true disciples of another sect have not. This is plainly assuming to others that our tares are better than your wheat-our faults are better than your virtues-and our hypocrites and traitors are better than your best and holiest examples of Christian fidelity.
The Saviour's passover is equally free to every specific branch of the Church and to each individual disciple who holds the head -to the cardinal evangelical doctrines of the faith of Jesus. The
good and the bad, the true and the false were at first represented. At that first supper, Jesus himself presided. To each and to all he said: "Remember me, as oft as ye do this." These symbols will be my memorials in all coming time. Hypocrisy and treachery and apostasy will furnish their trials, but for these I have provided. If ye love me, keep my commandments. I am soon to go away, and when I am gone, keep this passover in remembrance of me. I shall return again, and doing this will remind you of my coming. No consideration is equal to this one object-none can be admitted in partnership with it. I bid you say in my name and to my disciples-Do this.
If Judas is with you or absent from you I have no other instruction to give. My circumstances and relations now, will show you the path of duty in similar relations and amidst similar trials. That you may not mistake my instruction, I plainly announce that the hand of him that betrayeth me, is with me on the table. Whosoever partakes unworthily, must do it at his own peril, as he does it upon his own responsibility. It does not concern you so much what the fitness of others may be as your own fitness. Selfexamination is much more important than the examination of others.
4. By partaking together in remembrance of me, there is no indorsement of each other's opinions or characters. It is my table and not yours only as you are by me invited guests. If it were your table as the social board of your household is yours, then would it be yours to invite or exclude at your pleasure. Your admission of others to your household upon terms of social equality is a declared companionship with character. The idolater or the extortioner is to be excluded from the church by discipline, and from the household by the exercised rights of the family head. But when my family gather to commemorate my death as commanded, there is no idea of discipline intended. If by neglect the open offender is not disciplined, my command is not changed nor weakened by such neglect.
What is the spirit of Christianity and what the spirit of Christ we have no doubt. The impress of that spirit is enstamped upon the tendency and spirit of the age. This is pointing to a larger freedom, to a closer Christian union, to a purer and holier love. The great points of agreement among Christians are gaining in importance, while the minor points of difference are constantly diminishing. The time will come-must come, before the wolf and the lamb shall lie down together-that all Christians will joyfully sit together in remembrance of their crucified and risen Lord. His prayer will be answered, "that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they may be one in us-that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
BY REV. WILLIS LORD, D.D.
PASTOR OF THE SECOND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, BROOKLYN, N. Y.
OUR NATIONAL BLESSINGS.
PREACHED ON THE OCCASION OF THE ANNUAL THANKSGIVING, NOVEMBER, 1857.
"He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord!"-Psalm 147: 20.
CAUSES not only produce results, but they impress upon them their own character. The acorn, if you plant it, will not only spring up in the form and with the foliage of a tree, but that tree will be and must be the oak. In every germ of physical life, there are an essential nature and properties, which inhere in every form in which the germ may unfold itself, and which also determine that form. The rose will neither grow spontaneously, nor by any possible culture can it be educed from the thorn. Its leaves, color, fragrance are enfolded elementally in its own seed, and from no other can they be made to grow.
Moral causes and results adhere by force of laws equally sure and abiding. Ignorance and vice not only produce effects, but they perpetuate themselves in the effects they produce. If you look through a community or a nation, and behold a general and high degree of prosperity-if you behold social purity and comfort, agricultural and commercial enterprise and success, educational means and influences adapted to enlighten and elevate the whole people and the institutions and influences of the government and of religion recognizing the essential equality and the inalienable rights of men, and combining to secure the blessings of justice and liberty, it is indubitably certain that there have been at work causes of a specific kind, containing in themselves 30 41,061
the very essence of that whole scene of prosperity which you behold. And so, on the other hand, social, political, religious stagnation, debasement, servitude, flow from their own sources, revealing, at the same time, by unmistakable marks, the sources from which they flow.
In accordance with long usage, the chief magistrate of the State has called upon us to unite to-day in solemn acts of thanksgiving to God. The usage is most becoming. The call is one to which we sholud heartily respond. God is great. No creature mind can comprehend him. It becomes us to adore in his presence. But he is good as great. His mercies can not be numbered. They encompass us in the light and the air, on the land and the ocean, in the processes of nature, the workings of providence, the exploits of grace.
Let us not, however, rest in generalities. The blessings which call for our gratitude and praise are visible as they are numerous and great. Health is in all our borders. The garners of our husbandmen overflow with food for man and beast. Manufactures and commerce flourish, recompensing the labors of the artisan and the enterprise of the merchant. The present depression is not only temporary but exceptional, and will itself become a blessing, if its salutary lessons are heeded. Our social condition is one of comparative safety, purity, and happiness. The means of popular education and elevation are numerous and efficient. Above alland essentially comprehensive of all-we have political and religious liberty. We have these blessings, too-or the greatest and most essential of them, I make bold to affirm-as they are not possessed by any other nation. And it is this peculiarity in our case, this eminence of our position as a prosperous and a free people, together with the great moral reason of it-under God-that I would now particularly press upon your attention.
I. As to the first, let me lead you on a brief survey. Let me point you to the nations. Let me bid you mark, in passing, their actual condition in comparison with our own, in all the respects which pertain to the elements and the means of national wellbeing.
Look at Asia-the cradle of the human race-in extent outmeasuring any other of the great divisions of the globe, and in population exceeding by millions the aggregate number of the rest of the world. What are its governments, but hoary despotisms? What are its religions, but cruel and debasing impostures? What its thronging millions of people, but slaves?
Look at Africa, next peopled by men, and famous in the annals of ancient civilization and art; among whose cities were Thebes, with its hundred gates, and Carthage, the dreaded enemy of Rome; among whose heroes were Sesostris and Hannibal, and among whose divines were Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustin;