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present the fellowship which subsists between all true believers in Christ Jesus? How carefully then should we separate ourselves from the world and sinners when we would join this blessed community! “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness ?...... where. fore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you !"* If we would be united with God's people, and share their high and holy privileges, we must be separate from the world ; the pleasures of the world are incompatible with the pleasures of the sanctuary;
the friendship of the world is enmity with God.” We cannot be the friend of both !
And is this ordinance a SACRAMENT-a votive rite? With what deliberation and solemnity should we thus dedicate ourselves to God! It is a surrender of all our powers of mind and body to His service and glory; our time, our property, our influence, are consecrated for ever to the Lord ! Great is the responsibility which we thus incur! If we break our vows, we violate our covenant with God; and justly may we fear His displeasure. But while the apprehension of this ought not by any means to deter us from the discharge of a positive duty, it may well induce
* 2 Cor. vi. 14-17.
serious reflection, and a cautious and reverential approach to the Lord's table.
And finally, is this feast an ANTEPAST—a foretaste of heavenly joys ? then assuredly when we partake of it we should cultivate those dispositions which
may fit us for heaven itself. That purity and spirituality of mind, those graces of the Spirit, those blessed tempers, meekness, gentleness, love, compassion, forgiveness, with which we should desire to be adorned when summoned to the company of saints and angels, should distinguish every spiritual communicant. We know indeed that the imputed merits of Jesus alone can give us a title to worship among his people here, or to stand before his throne with them hereafter: still there must be a meetness, a suitableness, a holiness of heart and life without which none can see the Lord. Therefore should our prayers be earnest that the Holy Spirit would descend and fill our souls with such dispositions as distinguish his people from all others, and mark them as the recipients of divine grace.
IN CONCLUSION; might we not conceive that the children of many nominal christians may put to their parents another and a more difficult question than that of the text? “My father
mother--if the sacrament of the Lord's supper be ordained by Christ himself, and if the blessings and privileges connected with a right reception of it be so many and so great, how is it
you yourselves do not partake of it?" How can parents called christians answer this question? There is such palpable inconsistency in their conduct, that but for the natural deceitfulness of the human heart we might wonder that any could fail to be struck with conviction! The real cause of such sinful neglect is but too obvious. We do not come to this holy ordinance because we are unfit for it: that is, we love the world, or sin, or pleasure, more than God--we are unprepared for death, unfit for heaven-and there is but one alternative-were we to die in this state we must perish eternally! The danger of an improper reception of this holy sacrament may be great, but the danger of deliberate and continued neglect of it must at least be equally great! There is but one safe and happy path : God give us grace to walk in it! Let us break off our sins by repentance-let us tear every idol from our bosomand yield up our hearts, a willing, cheerful sacrifice, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ ! Thus may we hope to experience the blessedness of those who “wholly follow the Lord,” and thus may we here enjoy the favour of our God, and hereafter those pleasures which are at his right hand for evermore!
CHRIST STILLS THE TEMPEST.
MARK iv. 41.
“ AND THEY FEARED EXCEEDINGLY, AND SAID ONE TO ANOTHER,
WHAT MANNER OF MAN IS THIS, THAT EVEN THE WIND AND THE SEA OBEY HIM?"
An allegorical mode of teaching has the high sanction and example of our Lord himself; he was accustomed to draw spiritual instruction from the circumstances and scenes in which he was placed; and the visible and familiar objects, which presented themselves to his notice, afforded him striking illustrations, and suggested pointed remarks. The same method has been pursued by the most able teachers and philosophers of all nations; and it is obviously calculated to recommend the truth to those who require to be thus attracted, and to impress it more deeply on those who are already acquainted with its value. Yet, on the other hand, there is no method of imparting knowledge which ought to may with
be more carefully guarded than this. An illustration is often mistaken for an argument; and from a parable, or an allegory, introduced for the purpose of illustrating some particular point, doctrines
apparent consistency be deduced which are directly opposed to its legitimate application. The parables of our Lord have often been thus misinterpreted : and many passages of Scripture have been so fancifully though ingeniously explained, that their true meaning has been perverted. Still, if we keep within the bounds of sober interpretation, and if moreover we accommodate Scripture only for the illustration of truths in themselves unquestionable, and not for the establishment of any doubtful point, an allegorical or spiritual view of many passages may with much propriety be admitted.
The incident with which the text is connected appears to be justly capable of such an accommodation. Jesus retiring from the importunity of the curious multitude, entered with his disciples into a small vessel, in order to cross the lake of Genesareth ; as they passed over, a storm suddenly arose, but the Saviour “ was in the hinder part of the ship asleep on a pillow.” Terrified at their imminent danger, the disciples awoke him, having probably some indistinct idea that he could preserve their lives. Immediately Jesus arose, and with authority rebuked the stormy winds and waves, and there was a