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love whose influence will one day unite the Christian world, and thus fulfil the earnest prayers of its Lord. Before I dismiss you, I
may state what
you will feel as consolatory to your hearts, that Jesus is wounded in the house of his friends by his sympathy with them in their sorrows and persecutions. When Saul was on his way to Damascus, with the most cruel designs against the followers of our Lord, he addressed him in these memorable words. " I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." The good man who has been shut up in a dungeon for the cause of truth, and whom no voice or look of compassion ever reaches, has felt his Lord with him in his dark abode, and that he remembered his bonds, as bound with him. The martyr in his agonies may hear from the spectators only taunts and curses, but the heart of Jesus glows with admiration of his fortitude, and melts with coma passion for his sufferings.
But in all our afflictions he is afflicted. In the good, who labour under the anxieties and privations of poverty, or whose hearts bleed from unmerited calumny, or the disappointment of some generous purpose, or who from the loss of friends, pine in gloomy solitude, he feels a tender interest, and will by the riches of bis grace, the joys of his presence, and the tokens of his approbation, comfort such mourners. Let this mercy of the Lord Jesus influence you to bear your sorrows with becoming fortitude, and to exemplify to each other that sympathy and kindness by which your sufferings will be alleviated, and your hearts knit to one another, and by which the spirit of Christ will be glorified, and his law fulfilled.
JOHN VI. 34.
“Lord, evermore give us this bread.”
WHATEVER was the object of the Jews in this request, and whatever was the spirit in which it was presented, it is a most suitable prayer for a devout communicant. It aptly expresses the pious wishes of bis heart, and Jesus delights to answer it at his table. This is the place where he will satisfy the poor of Zion with bread. The prayers of the proud, the hypocritical, and the carnal, he will reject with abhorrence; but to the imploring voice of the humble and the penitent, he will bend his ear in mercy.
In his house " there is bread enough and to spare," and in his heart com. passions flow,
The bread of which our Lord speaks may represent his doctrines. We read of Wisdom's bread ; and Hezekiah says of divine truths, “ O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my soul.” The doctrines of Christ sanctify, invigorate, and delight the faculties of the soul, and it is for want of knowledge that a people are destroyed. And by this bread the blessings of Christ's salvation are exe hibited, the acceptance in which the soul is safe, that grace by which the saint acts, and that comfort in which the heart is at rest.
This is bread which comes from the land of Ime manuel, and which is provided for man by Jehovah himself; it is the true bread, of whose excellent
qualities the manna, and all the other supports of existence are but shadows, and the bread of life, which blesses natural, supports spiritual, and' nourishes to eternal life. It is bread whose nutritive qualities can never fail, which is as much within the reach of the poor as of the rich, which sweetens the meanest fare of the cottager, and whose place cannot be supplied by any of the luxuries of the palace, it is ever delicious to the palate, and on it the soul shall live for ever.
It is only in some countries that the bread fruit tree will flourish, or that the “ corn of wheat” will grow, but this bread is destined for salvation to the ends of the earth. What is deemed delicious in one country as an article of food, is often loathed in another; but Christ is the common support and stay of his saints throughout the world : They all eat of the same spiritual meat, and they all partake of the same spiritual drink.” There are seasons when bread is of no avail for the support of natural life, when the stomach can neither receive nor digest it; but this bread is suited to the necessities of the soul at all periods. In the agonies of death faith improves and applies his grace as much as in the duties of life. Other bread can only satisfy hunger. It will not avail a man that he is supplied with bread in abuna dance, if no water is allowed for his thirst; but in Christ Jesus every want of the soul may find a supply, every charge an answer, every pious wish its fulfile ment, and every Sorrow consolation. ! It is by a laborious process that the fruits of the earth are turned into bread for our nourishment, and ere we could partake of salvation, Christ must become incarnate, and suffer, and die. He did sweat great drops of blood in his tremendous agony, that we might obtain strong consolation ; and he was suspended on
the accursed tree, as the worst of criminals, that we might receive " the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of our salvation." This is bread which has from age to age been the sustenance of good men, and which is still exhibited in as great abundance as ever. It comes from an inexhaustible store, and his mercy is from generation to generation upon them that fear him.” The manna fell only while the Israelities were in the wilderness, and in no after extremity did, they obtain again such a supply from heaven; but of the bread which the first Christians did eat with gladness and singleness of heart, we are invited to partake ; and, till the end of all things, Jesus will spread his table, and say to the children of his love, “Eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."
The language of your profession is, “ Lord, ever more give us this bread :" but do you feel that it is absolutely necessary to your spiritual support and happiness ? Bread is the staff of life; yet, necessary as it is, a substitute may be found for it sufficient for the support of existence; but without the doctrines of Christ there is no wisdom, and without his blessings there is no happiness. What are the speculations of vain deceit to a starying soul? “ It is as when a hung'y man dreameth, and behold he eateth ; and he awaketh, and his soul hath appetite." And how poor is the enjoyment which the world can give. Solomon assembled around him all that the world calls delightful; he withheld not his heart from any joy; yet all was found to be vanity and vexation of spirit. Many are in the sight of God truly wise to whom philosophy never taught one of her lessons, and many of the poor of this world hath the grace of God made truly happy. Christ was their wisdom and their joy. Are these
feel an eager
your impressions, and do you now feel that without Jesus Christ there would be nothing around you but darks ness, and nothing in you but despair ? Do you
desire for this bread? Hun. ger is a very strong appetite, and is often employed to point out vehemence of desire after any object, and most urgent is the cry of the starving man for relief. Now, the consciousness of our misery as sinners, and a persuasion of the happiness of those who " are partakers of Christ,” will produce the most eager wishes, and the most importunate cries for his mercy. Are these the requests of your hearts at this moment, send forth thy light and thy truth-visit me with thy salvation-satisfy us early with thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad in thee all our days.” Such dem sires shall be granted, and I trust that this shall be the case in this ordinance, for the Saviour hath said “ that he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness." Have your desires been partial and transient, or have they been habitual? Have you sought the grace of Christ, not merely when your consciences were tortured with guilt, or when sickness brought death and judgment to view, but have it as impossible to live in comfort without it as to die in safety? Is your submission to him, as your teache er, such that no tenet of his offends, and no mandate disgusts you?
The hypocrite may utter his prayers with affected fervour, but this differs as much from the earnestness of genuine piety as the glare of the meteor from the steady effulgence of the sun, or the gilded dross from the solid gold. Should it be suggested to any of you, for the trial of your faith, “ It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to the dogs," let this be your answer, " Truth, Lord, I am a dog, yet the dogs