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From many a long-forgotten fault
By all Thy condescending care,
Thy birth, Thy baptism, blood-sweat prayer,
By all Thy Passion's mystic power;
Which saw Thee laid in darksome bower,
O Conq'ror! by Thy rising blest,
Refresh me, Lord! with all the dead
Who 'neath Thy cross have made their bed;
Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth out of his treasure things new and old.'-ST. MATTHEW xiii. 52.
ON FREQUENT COMMUNION.
YOUR friend's scruples respecting the sacrament are, I believe, of a nature far from uncommon. I have no doubt, however, in saying, that the very sense of her unfitness ought to induce her to perseverance in frequent communion. We do not approach the Lord's table because we are good and perfect (this would be trusting in our own righteousness), but in order that we may, through divine grace, be made so. The sacrament is to be viewed not only as a means of grace, but as the chief means; and as God's appointed means, which we are not at liberty to neglect. As to the frequency of communion
detracting from the solemnity of it, every one who knows human nature, knows that it is the tendency of all acts frequently repeated, of all habits fully formed, to diminish the outward, sensible impression; but it does not therefore follow, that we are to shun the repetition of good actions, or avoid the formation of good habits. If we often visit the sick poor, we shall less and less feel externally and palpably affected by the sense of the miseries which we see; yet who can doubt that our internal benevolence will increase, however our outward expression of it may be slackened, if we persevere in such visits from a right motive, that is, a charitable one? If, again, we are prevented from often seeing a dear friend, the infrequent interviews, few and far between,' will doubtless be snatched with a keener relish than if our intercourse were daily and hourly yet who does not prefer, when circumstances admit of it, the calmer, and, I will add, the profounder, joy of uninterrupted companionship? Thus it is also with the sacrament. They who communicate rarely, if they do it conscientiously, will probably feel a deep awe and a strong excitement, either of the passions or affections: this awe will become more intelligent, this excitement will be softened down, with a frequent communion; but if we communicate aright, the inward parts will be greater, and the effects on our lives will be more lasting. Our communion will more resemble the sacred and homefelt delight, the sober certainty of waking bliss,' when virtuous friends are for ever in each other's society, than the tumultuous gratifications of a meeting between those friends which has been long in coming, and which will not soon come again.
It is to be observed, that in the earliest, that is, the most pious ages of the Church, the faithful communicated weekly, sometimes daily. They kept up the feeling of solemnity by their conviction of the real and special presence of Christ in the eucharist: not, as may be abundantly proved, a gross corporeal presence, like that believed by the Romanists, but a spiritual presence, to which our Lord particularly refers in that promise, 'where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them ;' and hence probably, in the early Greek Church, the communion was called " gathering together.' In late days, to the great detriment of piety, the notion has prevailed, that the communion is a bare commemoration: but, in fact, Christ is there present, in a special and peculiar manner, to communicate His own graces and His own Spirit to devout participants in the holy mysteries; and, according to the words of
our service, they who approach in faith and charity, are, in receiving the elements, made to dwell in Christ, and Christ in them. They receive what is communicable of His blessed nature; and thence are enabled to keep His words, and conform to His example. If, therefore, we steadfastly believe that Christ is present in the eucharist, and for these purposes, the oftener we partake of it the greater must be our proficiency, the fault must lie, not in the frequency, but in the moral imperfections, of our acts of communion. The remedy is, not to diminish the number of our communions, but, by every means, to strive and pray, that we may increase the devotion of them. The lines of Johnson may be applied to the communion :—
'But when the sense of sacred presence fires,
A strong devotion to the skies aspires,
And makes the happiness she does not find.'
In a word, whoever honestly, conscientiously, faithfully, and perseveringly, frequents the Lord's table, if only there be a just sense of the divine presence there enshrined, and the divine grace there poured forth, will be made by the sacrament better than he is found by it.
Excuse any incoherencies in what I have written; my post messenger waits, and I have no time for deliberation. I have been forced to write rapidly; but however the expressions may be imperfect, you have the result of my settled thoughts, the dictates of long and habitual conviction.-From a Letter by Bishop Jebb.
OF THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD.
WHEN the fulness of the time came, God sent His Son, and hath spoken unto us by Him. He became our Prophet, to shew us the will of His Father. He saith, I have not spoken of Myself: but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.' Hereof St John saith, No
man hath seen God at any time.' He is invisible, He is incomprehensible, no mind can conceive Him, no eye can see Him, but 'the only-begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.' Of Him the Father said, Whom I am well pleased; hear Him.' His word, credit Him, believe Him. Gospel is highly to be esteemed, seeing our Saviour was not ashamed to publish the will of His Father in His own person: yet it appeareth not, wherever He did ordain it to be a Sacrament.
'This is my beloved Son, in Hearken unto Him, receive No doubt the ministry of the
He appointed that the comfort thereof should be carried into all nations, and gave that charge unto His Apostles: Go teach all nations.' Again, What I tell you in darkness, that speak you in light and what you hear in the ear, that preach you on the houses.' He saw the people, and had compassion on them! He saw they were dispersed, and scattered abroad like sheep without a shepherd, and that they perished, because they had no knowledge of the will of God. Therefore He saith, Pray the Lord of the harvest that he would send labourers into the harvest.' Therefore He ordaineth them to this ministry, I will make you fishers of men.' And sendeth them forth, As my Father sent Me, so send I you.' And, 'Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' He willeth them to call the people to repentance, and to preach the Kingdom of God.
By this ministry, God hath gathered to Himself an acceptable people, and hath brought them to the obedience of the Gospel of Christ, and hath turned the hearts of the fathers unto their children, and so made it to be the foundation of religion. They that exercise this ministry are the eyes of Christ, the pillars of the Church, the interpreters of God's will, the watchmen of the Lord's tower, the leaders of Christ's sheep, the salt of the earth, the light of the world. Daniel saith, They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever.' Not that there is any so great wisdom or eloquence in men: they are but weak, they are unfit to do this service. Isaiah saith of himself, I am a man of polluted lips.' And Jeremiah saith, O Lord God, behold I cannot speak, for I am a child.' So saith St Paul: I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.' So said St John, that he was not Christ, nor that prophet, but the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, and not worthy to unloose the latchet of His shoe that should come after him.
The power, whereby they did conquer the world, was not in them, but in the word which they preached.
salvation to every one that believeth.'
It is the power of God to
It is like a fire, and like a
hammer that breaketh a stone.' 'When ye received of us the word of the preaching of God,' saith St Paul to the Thessalonians, 'ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is indeed the word of God, which also worketh in you that believe.' The power of an earthly prince is great. The Wise man saith, 'The fear of a king is like the roaring of a lion.' Yet is a prince but mortal; and the law of a prince is but mortal; it hath no power to force the conscience. But the word of God doth break into the heart, it forceth a way into the conscience it is sharper than any two-edged sword; it entereth through, even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, because it is the word of God.
For it is no man, but God that speaketh, as Christ telleth the Apostles, It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father, which speaketh in you.' So saith the prophet Zacharias, He spake by the mouth of His holy Prophets, which have been since the world began.' The Prophets, and Apostles, and holy men of God, were but instruments. It was God Who gave His Holy Spirit, Who gave them tongues to speak and words to utter. Therefore said Christ, 'I will give you a mouth, and wisdom, whereagainst all your adversaries shall not be able to speak nor resist.' Though men be but simple, yet the word they deliver is mighty; though they be mortal, the word of the Lord endureth for ever.
Where this word is received, it is fire, and burneth: it is a hammer, and breaketh the hardness of the heart: it is mighty in operation it cleanseth the inner man : it openeth the conscience: it is a savour of life unto life: it is the means of salvation. He that receiveth this word and believeth, shall be saved. This is the word of reconciliation, God hath committed it unto us.-Bishop Jewel.
On Wednesday, June 21, the annual Synod of the united dioceses of S. Andrews, Dunkeld, and Dunblane met in the large upper room' in Perth, occupied as a temporary church by the Episcopal