Sermon 2. The Remembrance of Christ
Delivered on Sabbath Evening, January 7th, 1855, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
"This do in remembrance of me."-1 Corinthians 11:24.
IT SEEMS, then, that Christians may forget Christ. The text implies the possibility of forgetfulness concerning him whom gratitudeand affection should constrain them to remember. There could be no need for this loving exhortation, if there were not a fearfulsupposition that our memories might prove treacherous, and our remembrance superficial in its character, or changing in itsnature. Nor is this a bare supposition: it is, alas, too well confirmed in our experience,not as a possibility, but as a lamentable fact. It seems at first sight too gross a crime to lay at the door of convertedmen. It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb should ever forget theirRansomer; that those who have been loved with an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God, should ever forget that Son;but if startling to the ear, it is alas, too apparent to the eye to allow us to deny the fact. Forget him who ne'er forgotus!Forget him who poured his blood forth for our sins! Forget him who loved us even to the death! Can it be possible? Yesit is not only possible, but conscience confesses that it is too sadly a fault of all of us, that we can remember anythingexcept Christ. The object which we should make the monarch of our hearts, is the very thing we are most inclined to forget.Where one would think that memory would linger, and unmindfulness would be an unknown intruder, that is the spot which isdesecratedby the feet of forgetfulness, and that the place where memory too seldom looks. I appeal to the conscience of every Christianhere: Can you deny the truth of what I utter? Do you not find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Some creature steals away yourheart, and you are unmindful of him upon whom your affection ought to be set. Some earthly business engrosses your attentionwhen you should have your eye steadily fixed upon the cross. It is the incessant round of world, world, world; the constantdin of earth, earth, earth, that takes away the soul from Christ. Oh! my friends, is it not too sadly true that we canrecollect anything but Christ, and forget nothing so easy as him whom we ought to remember? While memory will preserve a poisonedweed, it suffereth the Rose of Sharon to wither.
The cause of this is very apparent: it lies in one or two facts. We forget Christ, because regenerate persons as we reallyare, still corruption and death remain even in the regenerate. We forget him because we carry about with us the old Adam ofsin and death. If we were purely new-born creatures, we should never forget the name of him whom we love. If we were entirelyregenerated beings, we should sit down and meditate on all our Saviour did and suffered; all he is; allhe has gloriously promised to perform; and never would our roving affections stray; but centered, nailed, fixed eternallyto one object, we should continually contemplate the death and sufferings of our Lord. But alas! we have a worm in the heart,a pest-house, a charnel-house within, lusts, vile imaginations, and strong evil passions, which, like wells of poisonous water,send out continually streams of impurity. I have a heart, which God knoweth, I wish I could wring from my body and hurl toan infinite distance; a soul which is a cage of unclean birds, a den of loathsome creatures, where dragons haunt and owlsdo congregate, where every evil beast of ill-omen dwells; a heart too vile to have a parallel-"deceitful above all thingsand desperately wicked." This is the reason why I am forgetful of Christ. Nor is this the sole cause; I suspect it lies somewhereelse too. We forget Christ because there are so many other things around us to attract our attention. "But," you say, "theyought not to do so, because though they are around us, they are nothing in comparison with Jesus Christ: though they arein dread proximity to our hearts, what are they compared with Christ?" But do you know, dear friends, that the nearness ofan object has a very great effect upon its power? The sun is many, many times larger than the moon, but the moon has a greaterinfluence upon the tides of the ocean than the sun, simply because it is nearer, and has a greater power of attraction. SoIfind that a little crawling worm of the earth has more effect upon my soul than the glorious Christ in heaven; a handfulof golden earth, a puff of fame, a shout of applause, a thriving business, my house, my home, will affect me more than allthe glories of the upper world; yea, than the beatific vision itself: simply because earth is near, and heaven is far away.Happy day, when I shall be borne aloft on angels' wings to dwell for ever near my Lord, to bask in the sunshine of his smile,andto be lost in the ineffable radiance of his lovely countenance. We see then the cause of forgetfulness; let us blush overit; let us be sad that we neglect our Lord so much, and now let us attend to his word, "This do in remembrance of me," hopingthat its solemn sounds may charm away the demon of base ingratitude.
We shall speak, first of all, concerning the blessed object of memory; secondly, upon the advantages to be derived from remembering this Person; thirdly, the gracious help, to our memory-"This do in remembrance of me;" and fourthly, the gentle command, " This do in remembrance of me." May the Holy Ghost open my lips and your hearts, that we may receive blessings.
I. First of all, we shall speak of THE GLORIOUS AND PRECIOUS OBJECT OF MEMORY-"This do in remembrance of ME." Christians have many treasures to lock up in the cabinet of memory. They ought to remember their election-"Chosen of God ere time began." They ought to be mindful of their extraction, that they were taken out of the miry clay, hewn out of the horrible pit. They ought to recollect their effectual calling, for they were called of God,and rescued by the power of the Holy Ghost. They ought to remember their special deliverances-all that has been done for them, and all the mercies bestowed on them. But there is one whom they should embalm in theirsouls with the most costly spices-one who, above all other gifts of God, deserves to be had in perpetual remembrance. One I said, for I mean not an act, I mean not a deed; but it is a Person whose portrait I would frame in gold, and hang up inthe state-room of thesoul. I would have you earnest students of all the deeds of the conquering Messiah. I would have you conversant with the life of our Beloved. But O forget not his person; for the text says, "This do in remembrance of me." It is Christ's glorious person which ought to be the object of our remembrance.It is his image which should be enshrined in every temple of the Holy Ghost.
But some will say, "How can we remember Christ's person, when we never saw it? We cannot tell what was the peculiar form ofhis visage; we believe his countenance to be fairer than that of any other man-although through grief and suffering more marred-butsince we did not see it, we cannot remember it. We never saw his feet as they trod the journeys of his mercy; we never beheldhis hands as he stretched them out full of lovingkindness; we cannot remember the wondrousintonation of his language, when in more than seraphic eloquence, he awed the multitude, and chained their ears to him;we cannot picture the sweet smile that ever hung on his lips, nor that awful frown with which he dealt out anathemas againstthe Pharisees; we cannot remember him in his sufferings and agonies, for we never saw him." Well, beloved, I suppose it istrue that you cannot remember the visible appearance, for you were not then born; but do you not know that even the apostlesaid,though he had known Christ after the flesh, yet, thenceforth after the flesh he would know Christ no more. The naturalappearance, the race, the descent, the poverty, the humble garb, were nothing in the apostle's estimation of his glorifiedLord. And thus, though you do not know him after the flesh, you may know him after the spirit; in this manner you can rememberJesus as much now as Peter, or Paul, or John, or James, or any of those favoured ones who once trod in his footsteps, walkedsideby side with him, or laid their heads upon his bosom. Memory annihilates distance and over leapeth time, and can beholdthe Lord, though he be exalted in glory.
Ah! let us spend five minutes in remembering Jesus. Let us remember him in his baptism, when descending into the waters of Jordan, a voice was heard, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."Behold him coming up dripping from the stream! Surely the conscious water must have blushed that it contained its God. Heslept within its waves a moment, to consecrate the tomb of baptism, in which those who are dead with Christ are buried withhim. Let usremember him in the wilderness, whither he went straight from his immersion. Oh! I have often thought of that scene in the desert, when Christ, weary andway-worn, sat him down, perhaps upon the gnarled roots of some old tree. Forty days that he fasted, he was an hungered, whenin the extremity of his weakness there came the evil spirit. Perhaps he had veiled his demon royalty in the form of some agedpilgrim, and taking up a stone, said, "Way-worn pilgrim, if thou be the Son of Godcommand this stone to be made bread." Methinks I see him, with his cunning smile, and his malicious leer, as he held thestone, and said, "If,"-blasphemous if,-"If thou be the Son of God, command that this stone shall become a meal for me andthee, for both of us are hungry, and it will be an act of mercy; thou canst do it easily; speak the word, and it shall belike the bread of heaven; we will feed upon it, and thou and I will be friends for ever." But Jesus said-and O how sweetlydidhe say it-"Man shall not live by bread alone." Oh! how wonderfully did Christ fight the tempter! Never was there sucha battle as that. It was a duel foot to foot-a single-handed combat-when the champion lion of the pit, and the mighty lionof the tribe of Judah, fought together. Splendid sight! Angels stood around to gaze upon the spectacle, just as men of olddid sit to see the tournament of noted warriors. There Satan gathered up his strength; here Apollyon concentrated all hissatanicpower, that in this giant wrestle he might overthrow the seed of the woman. But Jesus was more than a match for him; inthe wrestling he gave him a deadly fall, and came off more than a conqueror. Lamb of God! I will remember thy desert strivings,when next I combat with Satan. When next I have a conflict with roaring Diabolus, I will look to him who conquered once forall, and broke the dragon's head with his mighty blows.
Further, I beseech you remember him in all his daily temptations and hourly trials, in that life-long struggle of his, through which he passed. Oh! what a mighty tragedy was the death ofChrist! and his life too? Ushered in with a song, it closed with a shriek. "It is finished." It began in a manger, and endedon a cross; but oh, the sad interval between! Oh! the black pictures of persecution, when his friends abhorred him; when hisfoes frowned at him as he passedthe streets; when he heard the hiss of calumny, and was bitten by the foul tooth of envy; when slander said he had a deviland was mad: that he was a drunken man and a wine-bibber; and when his righteous soul was vexed with the ways of the wicked.Oh! Son of God, I must remember thee; I cannot help remembering thee, when I think of those years of toil and trouble whichthou didst live for my sake. But you know my chosen theme-the place where I can always best remember Christ. It is a shadygarden full of olives. O that spot! I would that I had eloquence, that I might take you there. Oh! if the Spirit wouldbut take us, and set us down hard by the mountains of Jerusalem, I would say, see there runs the brook of Kedron, which theking himself did pass; and there you see the olive trees. Possibly, at the foot of that olive, lay the three disciples whenthey slept; and there, ah! there, I see drops of blood. Stand here, my soul, a moment; those drops of blood-dost thou beholdthem?Mark them; they are not the blood of wounds; they are the blood of a man whose body was then unwounded. O my soul picturehim when he knelt down in agony and sweat,-sweat, because he wrestled with God,-sweat, because he agonized with his Father."My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." O Gethsemane! thy shades are deeply solemn to my soul. But ah!those drops of blood! Surely it is the climax of the height of misery; it is the last of the mighty acts of this wondroussacrifice. Can love go deeper than that? Can it stoop to greater deeds of mercy? Oh! had I eloquence, I would bestow atongue on every drop of blood that is there; that your hearts might rise in mutiny against your languor and coldness, andspeak out with earnest burning remembrance of Jesus. And now, farewell, Gethsemane.
But I will take you somewhere else, where you shall still behold the "Man of Sorrows." I will lead you to Pilate's hall, andlet you see him endure the mockeries of cruel soldiers: the smitings of mailed gloves; the blows of clenched fists; the shame;the spitting, the plucking of the hair: the cruel buffetings. Oh! can you not picture the King of Martyrs, stript of his garments;exposed to the gaze of fiend-like men? See you not the crown about his temples, each thornacting as a lancet to pierce his head? Mark you not his lacerated shoulders, and the white bones starting out from thebleeding flesh? Oh, Son of Man! I see thee scourged and flagellated with rods and whips, how can I henceforward cease to rememberthee? My memory would be more treacherous than Pilate, did it not every cry, Ecce Homo,-"Behold the man."
Now, finish the scene of woe by a view of Calvary. Think of the pierced hands and the bleeding side; think of the scorchingsun, and then the entire darkness; remember the broiling fever and the dread thirst; think of the death shriek, "It is finished!"and of the groans which were its prelude. This is the object of memory. Let us never forget Christ. I beseech you, for thelove of Jesus, let him have the chief place in your memories. Let not the pearl of great price bedropped from your careless hand into the dark ocean of oblivion.
I cannot, however, help saying one thing before I leave this head: and that is, there are some of you who can very well carryaway what I have said, because you have read it often, and heard it before; but still you cannot spiritually remember anythingabout Christ, because you never had him manifested to you, and what we have never known, we cannot remember. Thanks be untoGod, I speak not of you all, for in this place there is a goodly remnant according to the electionof grace, and to them I turn. Perhaps I could tell you of some old barn, hedge-row, or cottage; or if you have lived inLondon, about some garret, or some dark lane or street, where first you met with Christ; or some chapel into which you strayed,and you might say, "Thank God, I can remember the seat where first he met with me, and spoke the whispers of love to my soul,and told me he had purchased me."
"Dost mind the place, the spot of ground,
Where Jesus did thee meet?"
Yes, and I would love to build a temple on the spot, and to raise some monument there, where Jehovah-Jesus first spoke tomy soul, and manifested himself to me. But he has revealed himself to you more than once-has he not? And you can rememberscores of places where the Lord hath appeared of old unto you, saying, "Behold I have loved you with an everlasting love."If you cannot all remember such things, there are some of you that can; and I am sure they will understandme when I say, come and do this in remembrance of Christ-in remembrance of all his loving visitations, of his sweet wooingwords, of his winning smiles upon you, of all he has said and communicated to your souls. Remember all these things tonight,if it be possible for memory to gather up the mighty aggregate of grace. "Bless the Lord. O my soul, and forget not all hisbenefits."
II. Having spoken upon the blessed object of our memory, we say, secondly, a little upon THE BENEFITS TO BE DERIVED FROM ALOVING REMEMBRANCE OF CHRIST.
Love never says, "Cui bono?" Love never asks what benefit it will derive from love. Love from its very nature is a disinterested thing. It loves; forthe creature's sake it loves, and for nothing else. The Christian needs no argument to make him love Christ; just as a motherneeds no argument to make her love her child. She does it because it is her nature to do so. The new-born creature must loveChrist, it cannot help it. Oh! who can resist the matchless charms ofJesus Christ?-the fairest of ten thousand fairs, the loveliest of ten thousand loves. Who can refuse to adore the princeof perfection, the mirror of beauty, the majestic Son of God? But yet it may be useful to us to observe the advantages ofremembering Christ, for they are neither few nor small.
And first, remembrance of Jesus will tend to give you hope when you are under the burden of your sins. Notice a few characters here tonight. There comes in a poor creature. Look at him! He has neglected himself this last month;he looks as if he had hardly eaten his daily bread. What is the matter with you? "Oh!" says he, "I have been under a senseof guilt; I have been again and again lamenting, because I fear I can never be forgiven; once I thought I was good, butI have been reading the Bible, and I find that my heart is 'deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;' I havetried to reform, but the more I try, the deeper I sink in the mire, there is certainly no hope for me. I feel that I deserveno mercy; it seems to me that God must destroy me, for he has declared, 'The soul that sinneth it shall die;' and die I must,be damned I must, for I know I have broken God's law." How will you comfort such a man? What soft words will you utter togivehim peace? I know! I will tell thee that there is one, who for thee hath made a complete atonement; if thou only believest on him thouart safe for ever. Remember him, thou poor dying, hopeless creature, and thou shalt be made to sing for joy and gladness.See, the man believes, and in ecstasy exclaims, "Oh! come all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done formy soul."
"Tell it unto sinners, tell,
I am, I am out of hell."
Hallelujah! God hath blotted out my sins like a thick cloud! That is one benefit to be derived from remembering Christ. Itgives us hope under a sense of sin, and tells us there is mercy yet.
Now, I must have another character. And what does he say? "I cannot stand it any longer; I have been persecuted and ill-treated,because I love Christ; I am mocked, and laughed at, and despised: I try to bear it, but I really cannot. A man will be a man;tread upon a worm and he will turn upon you; my patience altogether fails me; I am in such a peculiar position that it isof no use to advise me to have patience, for patience I cannot have; my enemies are slandering me,and I do not know what to do." What shall we say to that poor man? How shall we give him patience? What shall we preachto him? You have heard what he has to say about himself. How shall we comfort him under this great trial? If we suffered thesame, what should we wish some friend to say to us? Shall we tell him that other persons have borne as much? He will say,"Miserable comforters are ye all!" No, I will tell him, "Brother, you are persecuted; but remember the words of Jesus Christ,how hespake unto us, and said, 'Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecutedthey the prophets that were before you." My brother! think of him, who, when he died, prayed for his murderers, and said,"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." All you have to bear, is as nothing compared with his mighty sufferings.Take courage; face it again like a man; never say die. Let not your patience be gone; take up your cross daily, and followChrist. Let him be your motto; set him before your eyes. And, now, receiving this, hear what the man will say. He tellsyou at once-"Hail, persecution; welcome shame. Disgrace for Jesus shall be my honor, and scorn shall be my highest glory.
"'Now, for the love I bear his name,
What was my gain I count my loss,
I pour contempt on all my shame,
And nail my glory to his cross.'"
There is another effect, you see, to remembering Christ. It tends to give us patience under persecution. It is a girdle to brace up the loins, so that our faith may endure to the end.
Dear friends, I should occupy your time too much if I went into the several benefits; so I will only just run over one ortwo blessings to be received. It will give us strength in temptation. I believe that there are hours with every man, when he has a season of terrific temptation. There was never a vessel thatlived upon the mighty deep but sometimes it had to do battle with a storm. There she is, the poor barque, rocked up and downon the mad waves. See how theythrow her from wave to wave, and toss her to mid heaven. The winds laugh her to scorn. Old Ocean takes the ship in hisdripping fingers, and shakes it to and fro. How the mariners cry out for fear! Do you know how you can put oil upon the waters,and all shall be still? Yes. One potent word shall do it. Let Jesus come; let the poor heart remember Jesus, and steadilythen the ship shall sail, for Christ has the helm. The winds shall blow no more, for Christ shall bid them shut their mightymouths, and never again disturb his child. There is nothing which can give you strength in temptation, and help you toweather the storm, like the name of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. Then again, what comfort it will give you on a sick bed-the name of Christ! It will help you to be patient to those who wait upon you, and to endurethe sufferings which you have to bear; yea, it shall be so with you, that you shall have more hope in sickness than in health,and shall find ablessed sweetness in the bitterness of gall. Instead of feeling vinegar in your mouth, through your trouble, you shallfind honey for sweetness, in the midst of all the trial and trouble that God will put upon you, "For he giveth songs in the night."
But just to close up the advantages of remembering Christ, do you know where you will have the benefit most of all? Do youknow the place where chiefly you will rejoice that you ever thought of him? I will take you to it. Hush! Silence! You aregoing up stairs into a lonely room. The curtains hang down. Some one stands there weeping. Children are around the bed, andfriends are there. See that man lying? That is yourself. Look at him; his eyes are your eyes; his hands areyour hands. That is yourself. You will be there soon. Man! that is yourself. Do you see it? It is a picture of yourself.Those are your eyes that soon will be closed in death-your hands, that will lie stiff and motionless-your lips that will bedry and parched, between which they will put drops of water. Those are your words that freeze in air, and drop so slowly fromyour dying lips. I wonder whether you will be able to remember Christ there. If you do not, I will picture you. Behold thatman, straight up in the bed; see his eyes starting from their sockets. His friends are all alarmed; they ask him whathe sees. He represses the emotion; he tells them he sees nothing. They know that there is something before his eyes. He startsagain. Good God! what is that I see-I seem to see? What is it? Ah! one sigh! The soul is gone. The body is there. What didhe see? He saw a flaming throne of judgment; he saw God upon it, with his sceptre; he saw books opened; he beheld the throneofGod, and saw a messenger, with a sword brandished in the air to smite him low. Man! that is thyself; there thou wilt besoon. That picture is thine own portrait. I have photographed thee to the life. Look at it. That is where thou shalt be withina few years-ay, within a few days. But if thou canst remember Christ, shall I tell thee what thou wilt do? Oh! thou wilt smilein the midst of trouble. Let me picture such a man. They put pillows behind him; he sits up in bed, and takes the hand ofthe loved one, and says, "Farewell! weep not for me; the kind God shall wipe away all tears from every eye." Those roundabout are addressed, "Prepare to meet your God, and follow me to the land of bliss." Now he has set his house in order. Allis done. Behold him, like good old Jacob, leaning on his staff, about to die. See how his eyes sparkle; he claps his hands;they gather round to hear what he has to say; he whispers "Victory!" and summoning a little more strength, he cries, "Victory!"and at last, with his final gasp, "Victory, through him that loved us!" and he dies. This is one of the great benefitsto be derived from remembering Christ-to be enabled to meet death with blessed composure.
III. We are now arrived at the third portion of our meditation, which is a SWEET AID TO MEMORY.
At schools we used certain books, called "Aids to Memory." I am sure they rather perplexed than assisted me. Their utilitywas equivalent to that of a bundle of staves under a traveller's arm: true he might use them one by one to walk with, butin the mean time he carried a host of others which he would never need. But our Saviour was wiser than all our teachers, andhis remembrances are true and real aids to memory. His love tokens have an unmistakeable language, and theysweetly win our attention.
Behold the whole mystery of the sacred Eucharist. It is bread and wine which are lively emblems of the body and blood of Jesus.The power to excite remembrance consists in the appeal thus made to the senses. Here the eye, the hand, the mouth, find joyful work. The bread is tasted, and entering within, works upon the sense of taste,which is one of the most powerful. The wine is sipped-the act is palpable. We know that we are drinking, and thus the senses,whichare usually clogs to the soul, become wings to lift the mind in contemplation. Again, much of the influence of this ordinanceis found in its simplicity. How beautifully simple the ceremony is-bread broken and wine poured out. There is no calling thatthing a chalice, that thing a paten, and that a host. Here is nothing to burden the memory-here is the simple bread and wine.He must have no memory at all who cannot remember that he has eaten bread, and that he has been drinking wine. Noteagain, the mighty pregnancy of these signs-how full they are of meaning. Bread broken-so was your Saviour broken. Bread to be eaten-so his flesh is meatindeed. Wine poured out, the pressed juice of the grape-so was your Saviour crushed under the foot of divine justice: hisblood is your sweetest wine. Wine to cheer your heart-so does the blood of Jesus. Wine to strengthen and invigorate you-sodoes the blood of the mighty sacrifice. Oh! make that bread and wine to your soulstonight a sweet and blessed help of remembrance of that dear Man who once on Calvary died. Like the little ewe lamb, youare now to eat your Master's bread and drink from his cup. Remember the hand which feeds you.
But before you can remember Christ well here, you must ask the assistance of the Holy Spirit. I believe there ought to bea preparation before the Lord's Supper. I do not believe in Mrs. Toogood's preparation, who spent a week in preparing, andthen finding it was not the Ordinance Sunday, she said she had lost all the week. I do not believe in that kind of preparation,but I do believe in a holy preparation for the Lord's Supper: when we can on a Saturday if possible,spend an hour in quiet meditation on Christ, and the passion of Jesus; when, especially on the Sabbath afternoon, we candevoutly sit down and behold him, then these scenes become realities, and not mockeries, as they are to some. I fear greatlythat there are some of you who will drink the wine, and not think of his blood: and vile hypocrites you will be while youdo it. Take heed to yourselves, "He that eateth and drinketh" unworthily, eateth and drinketh-what?-"damnation to himself."This is a plain English word; mind what you are doing! Do not do it carelessly; for of all the sacred things on earth,it is the most solemn. We have heard of some men banded together by drawing blood from their arms and drinking it all round;that was most horrid, but at the same time most solemn. Here you are to drink blood from the veins of Christ, and sip thetrickling stream which gushed from his own loving heart. Is not that a solemn thing? Ought anybody to trifle with it? To goto churchand take it for sixpence? To come and join us for the sake of getting charities? Out upon it! It is an awful blasphemyagainst Almighty God; and amongst the damned in hell, those shall be among the most accursed who dared thus to mock the holyordinance of God. This is the remembrance of Christ. "This do in remembrance of me." If you cannot do it in remembrance ofChrist, I beseech you, as you love your souls, do not do it at all. Oh! regenerate man or woman, enter not into the courtof thepriests, lest Israel's God resent the intrusion.
IV. And now to close up. Here is a sweet command: "This do in remembrance of me." To whom does this command apply? "This doye." It is important to answer this question-"This do ye," Who are intended? Ye who put your trust in me. "This do ye in remembrance of me." Well, now, you should suppose Christ speaking to you tonight; and he says, "This do yein remembrance of me." Christ watches you at the door. Some of you go home, and Christ says, "I thought I said,'This do ye in remembrance of me.'" Some of you keep your seats as spectators. Christ sits with you, and he says, "I thoughtI said, 'This do ye in remembrance of me.'" "Lord, I know you did." "Do you love me then?" "Yes, I love thee; I love, Lord;thou knowest I do." "But, I say, go down there-eat that bread, drink that wine." "I do not like to, Lord; I should have tobe baptized if I joined that church, and I am afraid I shall catch cold, or be looked at. I am afraid to go before thechurch, for I think they would ask some questions I could not answer." "What," says Christ, "is this all you love me?Is this all your affection to your Lord. Oh! how cold to me, your Saviour. If I had loved you no more than this, you wouldhave been in hell: if that were the full extent of my affection, I should not have died for you. Great love bore great agonies;and is this all your gratitude to me?" Are not some of you ashamed, after this? Do you not say in your hearts, "it is reallywrong?" Christ says, "Do this in remembrance of me," and are you not ashamed to stay away? I give a free invitation toevery lover of Jesus to come to this table. I beseech you, deny not yourselves the privilege by refusing to unite with thechurch. If you still live in sinful neglect of this ordinance, let me remind you that Christ has said, "Whosoever shall beashamed of me in this generation, of him will I be ashamed, when I come in the glory of my Father." Oh, soldier of the cross,act notthe coward's part!
And not to lead you into any mistakes, I must just add one thing, and then I have done. When I speak of your taking the ordinanceof the Lord's Supper, do not imagine that I wish you for one moment to suppose that there is anything saving in it. Some saythat the ordinance of baptism is non-essential, so is the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, it is non-essential, if we lookupon it in the light of salvation. Be saved by eating a piece of bread! Nonsense, confoundednonsense! Be saved by drinking a drop of wine! Why, it is too absurd for common sense to admit any discussion upon. Youknow it is the blood of Jesus Christ; it is the merit of his agonies; it is the purchase of his sufferings; it is what hedid, that alone can save us. Venture on him; venture wholly, and then you are saved. Hearest thou, poor convinced sinner,the way of salvation? If I ever meet thee in the next world, thou mightest, perhaps, say to me, "I spent one evening, sir,in hearingyou, and you never told me the way to heaven." Well, thou shalt hear it. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, trust in hisrighteousness, and thou art saved beyond the vengeance of the law, or the power of hell. But trust in thine own works, andthou art lost as sure as thou art alive.
Now, O ever glorious Son of God, we approach thy table to feast on the viands of grace, permit each of us, in reliance uponthy Spirit, to exclaim in the words of one of thine own poets:
"Remember thee, and all thy pains,
And all thy love to me-
Yes, while a pulse or breath remains,
I will remember thee.
And when these failing lips grow dumb,
And thought and memory flee;
When thou shalt in thy kingdom come,
Jesus, remember me!"