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emblem, faint it is true, yet sufficiently significant, of the glorious feast above. Here indeed. Christ is only invisibly present; but the spiritual joys here felt, are similar to those above; and the holy feelings here excited, are the beginning of a more perfect holiness 10 be for ever possessed bereafter. Here indeed we see him by faith, there by sight: here all that encompass the table are imperfect, there all who surround the throne are perfectly holy. Here they are soon obliged to separate; there they go no more out, but live in the perpetual enjoyment of holiness, love, eternal glory, and the presence of Christ. But to have at this table any earnest of the future inheritance, and any anticipation of its songs of triumph, its holy joys and its blessed employments, may well endear the solemn ordinance to every faithful communicant.
Let us then now proceed to notice the HEAVENLY COMMUNION.
If communion with Christ on earth be so great a privilege, how much greater will be the blessedness of that WHICH WE SHALL ENJOY ABOVE! The highest figures are used to give us some view of the future glory. It is called a kingdom, a father's kingdom; a crown, a crown of glory. It is Paradise, the Paradise. of God; a marriage supper, the marriage supper of the Lamb. Let us then endeavour to contemplate the exceeding bliss of that day under the figure of drinking new wine in the kingdom of God. Thus St. John describes that scene of glory--The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready, and to her it was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they that are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. Rev. xix, 7–9.
Conceive, then, the immortal soul prepared and made meet for that eternal inheritance; wholly free from all guilt and pollution, and admitted into the heavenly company; and then we shall be able to form some better idea of that supreme happiness which we can never fully conceive here below.
Let us first notice THE JOY OF OUR LORD IN THE HAPPINESS OF HIS PEOPLE. Is there a purer or higher joy than the perfect happiness of those whom we love, when we have contributed to it? Such is the joy of our Lord and Saviour. What words can declare his love to his redeemed? How he loved them with an everlasting love, loved them when enemies, died for them, strove with thein; and, when perverse
and obstinate, overcame them even by love itself! They are the travail of his soul, and their happiness is the reward of his sufferings. In the scene of ineffable glory of which we now speak, Christ beholds them completely blessed in him, and with him. His, and his Father's glory, are in a new way manifested to all created intelligences by the bliss of ransomed sinners. For this joy ke endured the cross. How will the joy of Christ, beloved as he is by the Christian, fill and enlarge every believer's heart with the highest gladness.
The Christian shall there BEHOLD THE GLORY OF Christ. We think the Apostles and first disciples favoured, who beheld his veiled glory. We wonder not at Zaccheus climbing a tree to get even a glimpse of the Son of God, when he dwelt on earth. Christian reader ! realize by faith, for a moment, the delightful
thought that your eyes shall behold your beloved Saviour in glory, and be able stedfastly to gaze on his matchless beauty, without being confounded by the effulgence of his brightness! Hard it is for us now to raise our souls to any view of him by faith; but then, without difficulty, wandering, or effort, we shall with perfect ease and happy freedom, behold our gracious Redeemer face to face, and see him as he is.
We shall also HEAR THE WORDS OF CHRIST. What heart can imagine the bliss of that day when Christ himself shall speak to you, Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. Then we shall not, as now, by painful studies, by the experience of many trials, by continual struggling and effort in prayer, attain some faint knowledge of God and his ways, for Christ himself shall converse with us, and we with him. Then will he shew us the wisdom and love of our heavenly Father, in all that now seems dark and obscure, for he will fulfil that promise, in its greatest and fullest meaning What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. And not only will the goodness of our Heavenly Father be thus discovered to us in all past events, but we shall enter into a far deeper knowledge of his excellence than we can now conceive, and shall better understand the declaration, This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou last sent.
We shall also CONSTANTLY DWELL WITH CHRIST. Here the Christian has in some happy moments had a transient glimpse of his future bliss, and occasionally has been filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. but how transient! How soon the eye of faith becomes dim! How soon the affections again sink and grovel on the earth! How soon the spiritual view of the glory and presence of Christ disappears! It will not be so there. That prayer will then be fully answered, Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am ; perpetually with me, never more to be separated, -that they may behold my glory. Happy would the Christian be, did no sin now obscure the light, and damp the joy of communion with Christ. Happy would he be could he always live with Christ, and always be near and close to him. It will be so then. We shall never, through corruption, leave him; and he will never be provoked, by sin, to leave us.
Thus shall the Christian SHARE THE JOYS OF HIS SAVIOUR. That high and holy fellowship and friendship, which began on earth, and here afforded some bright beams of peace, and hope, and happiness, shall be perfected above. O what heart can now conceive the things which God has prepared for them that love him! We shall understand what we cannot now even imagine; we shall know in our happy enjoyment of them the full' meaning of those words, In thy presence is fulness of joy: at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore,
Nor, having mentioned in a former chapter the communion of saints on earth as one of the benefits connected with a due reception of the Lord's Supper, must we altogether pass by that far more exalted, and that perfected coMMUNION OF SAINTS IN HEAVEN; when, without any alloy of sin in ourselves, or in them, we shall join the heavenly hosts in glory. The heart of the believer, in the lively exercises of faith, almost sickens with desire to enter the blissful society of the spirits of just men made perfect; to be like the holy
angels, and ever with them; to join the glorious company of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the prophets, the noble army of martyrs, and the whole church universal and triumphant. Who can tell the enraptured emotions of the redeemed soul, escapiog from the snares of every enemy here, when he shall ascend to dwell with none but friends ; none but holy and blessed spirits, full of love and of happiness! What will it be to associate with them, to partake their bliss, for ever to leave this lower scene of darkness, toil, and conflict, and there to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jamb, in the kingdom of heaven! O Christians, how eagerly should we look for, how earnestly haste unto, and how diligently prepare for, the coming of that day!
The due Improvement of the Lord's Supper.
HE design of this chapter is to furnish such hints as may assist the cominunicant to obtain practical advantage from his observance of this institution, in his subsequent course. The state of mind which is fostered at the Lord's table, the feelings there excited, and the blessings there enjoyed, should be brought into practical application, and maintained by watchfulness and prayer. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought. 2 John, 8.