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and men gather them, and they are cast into the fire and burned'.” Thus we condemn ourselves, even in this world, to the withering of the soul, and the drying up in our hearts of the stream of heavenly grace; we hang in leafless, fruitless desolation, until the storm of God's displeasure sweep us off entirely, and we are bound in bundles for the everlasting burning.
On the other hand, “if with true penitent hearts and lively faith we receive that holy sacrament, then we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood, then we dwell with Christ, and Christ with us; we are one with Christ, and Christ with us ?."
The language of the Church concurs throughout in this view of the efficacy of the holy communion. It is our duty, as we read in the first exhortation, to thank God “for that He hath given His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ not only to die for us, but also to be our spiritual food and sustenance in that holy sacramenta.” It is a “ banquet of most heavenly food a »-a “ holy mystery 2.” To partake of it is our “bounden duty and service?," and " our great benefit; a" and in the last prayer, it is said that they “who duly
John xi. 6.
2 See Communion Service.
receive these holy mysteries are fed with the spiritual food of the most precious body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ, assured thereby of God's favour and goodness to them, and that they are very members incorporate in the mystical body of His Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people !.”
So, then, the holy sacrament of the Lord's supper is not a mere pious ceremony whereby we make, from time to time, profession of our faith ; nor is it the consolation only of the sick and dying; nor the pious offering of those who are supposed to have leisure for religion ; but it is eminently the bounden duty, the blessed privilege, the refreshment, the consolation, of those who are struggling in the world's tide. Yes, the more a man is thrown perforce into the current of worldly business, the more he is harassed by worldly cares, vexed by the contradiction of sinners, shocked by the conversation of the ungodly, just so much the more does it behove him to seek refreshment and spiritual strengthening at the supper of the Lord. Observe, I am speaking of those who are forced by circumstances into the midst of worldly cares, and oc
I See Communion Service.
cupy their business in the stormy waters of life; not those who plunge wilfully into the current of worldly folly. I am supposing a true son of the Church, who is engaged in active life, and with difficulty snatches (but he does snatch) a portion of each day for religion. To such a man I would say, Whenever the opportunity presents itself, receive the holy sacrament. For as the limbs of the labourer, when his strength is tired by wearisome toil, require a more constant refreshment and strengthening, so the spirit, jaded by worldly cares, demands that spiritual sustenance which the holy sacrament is intended to afford; and it is through this divine institution, that he who is made a member of Christ at baptism preserves that mystical union, and receives continual life, as the branch derives its sap from the tree of which it is a member.
With many prayers for your welfare, both spiritual and temporal, I remain your sincere friend,
THE CHURCHMAN IN HIS CLOSET.
Milton. My dear Arthur, You will see from my former letters that I lay great stress on the public duties of a Churchman. They are, in fact, a test, so far as they go, of his religious habits. The man who neglects the public ordinances of the Church is not likely to be very religious in private. On the other hand, without private devotion, all public service is mere formality and hypocrisy.
The Churchman, in his closet, is deeply con
versant with his Bible. He reads it practically and devotionally, for the confirmation of his faith and improvement in godliness; and endeavours to apply it as a touchstone to his own character. He reads it also with deep interest as the developement of a Divine system, and the record of God's dealings with the Church since the beginning of time. And he loves, as he lingers on its pages, to hold communion with the holy Patriarchs, and Prophets, and Apostles of old times, the champions and heroes of the Church of God; and to think of them as of living men, distant only in a far country, whom one day he hopes to see face to face.
The frame of mind in which the Churchman reads the word of God is a humble, submissive teachableness. Humility is, in truth, the basis of his character. “I confess,” says St. Augustine, writing concerning the honour due to the Scriptures, “I confess that I have learned to pay such reverence and honour to those books of Scripture which are called canonical, that I most firmly believe that none of the authors of them was guilty of any error in writing; and if I find any thing in their writings which seems contrary to truth, I make no doubt that either it is a corruption of the copy, or that the translator