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but like cold wax. The wax must be heated, and then the thing to be remembered becomes a seal, and leaves its image on the memory.
To fix an event on men’s minds there must be a custom, a festival, a celebration occurring at fixed times and established intervals. Then it will not be forgotten. If men do some act together, and speak together of that which happened, and if there be rites and ceremonies which symbolize the act and show its purport and meaning, the act itself will live. The custom keeps up the memory. The celebration warms the heart. And thus, though the world should last for ages,
the event may be as fresh, as real, as potent in its effects, as much a part of the life of those who celebrate it as though they had been living witnesses of the circumstance itself, which is so good and great that it may not be forgotten. We have only to think for a little about the nature of this holy ordinance, and of man for whom it was instituted, and we shall see that some such act is needful to assist the world's memory, and stamp upon the mind and heart of every Christian a clear distinct impression of that great and aweful sacrifice, which is the ground of his hopes and the source of his salvation. The sacrament is never celebrated but the death of Christ is published and signified to those among whom the act is done. The bread is never eaten, the wine is never drunk by any faithful worshipper but his own memory is strengthened, and his soul refreshed and comforted by the recollection of the wondrous love of Him Who died for those who were lost, and by feeding on that spiritual food which is our true sustenance on earth, and the seed of that eternal life which is the bliss of the redeemed in Heaven.
III. Here, then, is a plain commandanda good reason. “ Do this.” And why do this ? “ In remembrance of Me.” And we should suppose when we reflect upon it,-considering what the command is and why the command was given, and remembering moreover at what time it was given, on the night before that death which it commands us to remember, so that it is more than a command, for it is the dying wish of Him Who died for love of us,-reflecting on all this, we should suppose that no man who has heard and known these words could possibly be deaf to them ; we should imagine it a thing of course, that every man who calls himself a Christian would show his answering love by keeping so sacred a commandment, and would reckon it his highest privilege to be often a rememberer of that act which we cannot celebrate too often, until He who died for us shall come again. And yet what is the fact? It needs not many words of mine to tell it. It is a sad truth, but it is not less true than it is sad, that multitudes of Christians never communicate, that the greater number of those for whom Christ died are never guests at that most holy table which is spread to commemorate His dying love, and proclaim His death to a world which perishes. That is the fact, and I shall not dwell upon it; but I proceed at once to notice the objections which are sometimes heard from those who will not come.
1. There are some who say that it will do them no good, that it is only a form or ceremony, and the good can be got without the form. They are wrong. An ordinance of Christ is not a mere form ; it is a form which is a means of grace. The Jewish ordinances were little more than figures, “figures for the time present," " patterns of heavenly things," not "the heavenly things themselves;" but the ordinances of Christ are forms containing grace, true substantial goods, filled with life and efficacy. The form is the outward shell and the grace is the inward fruit, and the form must be taken that the grace may be received. And suppose that it was a mere form. It is still a plain command. “Do this.” Can anything be plainer ? Do you wish for anything more clear? If your earthly superior said to you, ‘Do this,' would you mistake his meaning ? If he did a simple act before your eyes, and said, “ Repeat this, and never cease repeating it; repeat it again and again to the world's end,' would you doubt the nature or the distinctness of his command ? “Do this.” There is an order, a duty prescribed, a command precisely given, to every Christian. And by whom? By God. By our Maker. By the Almighty Lawgiver Who will not be trifled with. Nay more, by Christ our Lord, the Son of God, whose voice is more than the voice of power for it is the voice of love, Who says, “If ye love Me keep My commandments," Who, at the moment when He loved us most and was just about to die for us, said—“Do this in remembrance of Me.” My brother, canst thou break this loving law ? If I spoke to the marble on that wall I am sure it would be softened by the sound of law and love like this. Harden not your heart against it. The stones will cry out from the wall against you, if you are deaf to this command and hold your peace..
2. Some confess the duty and make excuses. They have so many cares; there is so much to try their temper; or their business is so exacting; or they are so full of trouble that they cannot get time or thought, and therefore cannot come. My brethren, you who
say this, let me tell the truth to you. It is not cannot, it is will not. Think you that He Who said, “Do this,” was ignorant of the cares, and trials, and business of those to whom He said it? Suppose ye that the holy sacrament was meant for men of no cares, and few trials, and little business? No! “Do this ” was said to the careworn, to the troubled, to the diligent. "Do this, that ye may not be overwhelmed with cares.
Do this, that ye may find comfort when troubles dash against you like angry waves. Do this, that ye may not be too busy, but be reminded always that one thing is needful-only one.' Religion, I assure you, is not meant for idle persons, and for men
vith no troubles and no cares. It is meant for the careworn, that their cares may be lightened, for the troubled, that their tears may be wiped away, for the diligent, that their diligence may be sanctified and turned to good ends. If
If you have cares, and yield yourselves up to them, and suffer them to choke the good seed, if you have troubles, and grow sullen or morose beneath the weight of their oppression, if you have business, and are absorbed in business as though it was the end of life, then certainly you are not fit to “ do this,” and you may not do it. But why may you not? Because you are living in a state of sin. It is sinful to yield to care, and sink beneath trouble, and be too much wrapped up in worldly things. It is sin, and you must be ridden of it that you may be fit. Ah, that is the true reason.
You will not come. You will not get rid of care.
You will not wean your hearts from wrong affections. You could come if you would, for you could break, by God's mercy, the chains of sin. But the chains are heavy, and it is hard to break them; and therefore, when you are asked to the feast and are told that all is ready, you make excuses ; you plead the farm, or merchandize, or domestic hindrances; you say I cannot, but you mean I will not; you say to Him who died for you, and oh how bitter it must be to Him to hear it, • I will not “ do this ” in memory of Thee.'
3. Some say that they are not good enough, and must wait till they are better. But why are they not good ? Why are they worse than they ought to be ? Partly, because they do not use the means of getting better. To " do this” is to use a means of grace. Grace is given in the sacrament, for our Lord Himself is given in it. If men come rightly they are made better by the coming. He Whom they remember remembers them and blesses them, and sends out grace upon them, joining them to Himself, by feeding them on His own Body and Blood, and making them like Him because they remember Him. Of course, a man must repent of all known sin before he comes. To come with unrepented sin is to eat our own judgment, because it is to possess a belief that Christ died for sin, and yet not to die to that sin for which He died. But to come sorrowing for sin is to get pardon for sin past, and grace against sin to come. To say, 'I will not come till I am better,' is much the same as if a weak man should say, 'I will eat no food till I am strong. We “do this " in order that we may become better.
4. Some are afraid that they will sin afterwards. This is no reason. The sacrament is not for perfect men, but for repentant sinners struggling against sins. If sinners are not to come, who is to come? This would shut out all, for all have sin. St. Peter denied His Lord, after doing this at the first Lord's Supper. Should St. Peter not have come? Nay. St. Peter sinned afterwards, but St. Peter wept as well as