May 30: The Lord’s Table

“Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him.” John 6:54-56

FROM where do the ordinances derive their efficacy and power, but from the vitality of the Redeemer’s blood? There could be no life, for instance, in the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper but as that institution presented in a lively picture to the faith of the recipient the life-blood of the Savior. With what clearness and solemnity has He Himself put forth this truth, in the verses of our motto; thus declaring that he who in lowly and simple faith drinks of the blood of Jesus, partakes of the life of Jesus, because the life of Jesus is in the blood.

Should the eye of an unconverted soul light upon this page, or should it arrest the attention of an unbelieving and therefore an unworthy recipient of the ordinance, let that individual seriously ponder these solemn words of Jesus—”Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” The ordinance has no life of itself; the mere symbol possesses no spiritual vitality whatever; it cannot impart life, nor can it sustain life. But the life in the ordinance flows from the exercise of faith, through this medium, with the life-blood of Jesus. Therefore, if you rest only in the symbol, if in this ordinance you partake not by faith of the blood of Jesus, your soul is destitute of spiritual life. In the words of Jesus Himself, “You have no life in you.”

But oh what life does the believing communicant find in the atoning blood! what food, that refreshment, what nourishment! Is it any wonder that Jesus should be to Him the chief among ten thousand, and that the blood of Jesus should be the most precious thing in the universe? If the death of Jesus is his life, what must the life of Jesus be! If the humiliation of Jesus is his honor, what must the exaltation of Jesus be! If the cross of Jesus is his glory, what must the throne of Jesus be! If Jesus crucified is his boast, what must be Jesus glorified! “If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

Reader, is the blood of Jesus the life of your soul? So momentous is this truth, bear with me in pressing it upon your attention. Believe me when, with all affection and solemnity, I say that Your religion, your creed, your profession, are lifeless if they are not vivified, pervaded, and animated by the blood of the Son of God. God have no dealings with you in this great matter your salvation, but through the blood. He cannot “reason” with you about your sins of “crimson” and of “scarlet” dye, but on the footing of the blood. He cannot meet you for one moment in any other character than as a “consuming fire,” but as He meets you at, and communes with you from above the mercy-seat sprinkled with blood.

The blood of atonement is everything to God in the way of satisfaction, of glory, and of honor; and should be everything to you in the way of acceptance, pardon, and communion. There is not a moment in which God’s eye of complacence is withdrawn from the blood of His Son in the perpetual acceptance of the believer; and there should not be a moment in which our eye of faith, in every circumstance of our daily walk before Him, should not also be upon this “blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel.”

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Deeper Knowledge Of Jesus

Cultivate frequent and devout contemplations of the glory of Christ. Immense will be the benefit accruing to your soul. The mind thus preoccupied, filled, and expanded, will be enabled to present a stronger resistance to the ever advancing and insidious encroachments of the world. No place will be found for vain thoughts, and no desire or time for carnal enjoyments.

Oh, how crucifying and sanctifying are clear views of the glory of Emmanuel! How emptying, humbling, and abasing! With the patriarch, we then exclaim, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” And with the prophet, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” And with the apostle, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

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May 10: Set Your Affections

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

How solemn and full of meaning are these words! To set the affections on heavenly things is to realize the ardent desire of the apostle, that he might “know Christ and the power of His resurrection.” Oh, there is a mighty, elevating power in the resurrection of Christ! It is the great lever of a child of God, lifting him above earth, heavenward. To know that he is closely and inseparably one with the risen Head of the Church, is to be the subject of a continuous, quickening influence, which in spirit raises him from the dust and darkness and pollutions by which he is surrounded, fixing the affections with greater ardency of devotion and supreme attachment on things above.

Oh, nothing will more sanctify and elevate our hearts, than to have them brought under the “power of Christ’s resurrection.” Following Him by faith, from the dust of earth to the glory of heaven, the affections will ascend with their Beloved. Where He is- the heart’s most precious treasure- there it will be also. And oh, to have the heart with Christ in heaven, what an unspeakable mercy! And why should it not be? Has earth more that is attractive and lovely, holy and worthy of its affection, than heaven?

Here, we are encircled by, and combat with, spirits of darkness and pollution, principalities and powers; there, is “an innumerable company of angels.” Here, we are much separated from the Church of God; there, is the “general assembly and Church of the first-born,” from whom nothing shall divide us. Here, the Divine presence is often withdrawn, and we are taunted and accused by our foes; there, is “God the Judge of all,” whose presence will be our eternal glory, and who will “bring forth our righteousness as the light, and our judgment as the noon-day.” Here, we often hang our heads in sorrow, at the imperfections we mark in the saints; there, are the “spirits of just men made perfect,” “without fault before the throne.” Here, we often lose sight of our beloved Lord; there, is “Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant,” never more to be veiled from our view. Oh, then, how much richer and more attractive is heaven than earth, to a renewed and holy mind, each moment growing richer and more attractive, by the accession to its happiness of those, the holy and loved ones of the earth, who have for a little while preceded us to that world of perfect bliss! Our treasure in glory, how rapidly it accumulates!

Death, which impoverishes us here, by snatching from our embrace the objects of our love, by that same act augments our riches in heaven, into the full possession and enjoyment of which it will, in its appointed time, beneficently translate us. But the sweetest, the most powerful attraction of heaven, let us never forget, is, that Jesus is there. Ah! what would heaven be, were He absent? Could we, at this moment, rush into the fond embrace of the dearest of the glorified ones, and not meet the “Chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely One,” who on earth was more precious to our hearts than life itself, oh, how soon would its glory fade from our eye, and its music pall upon our ear! It would cease to be heaven without Christ.

Even on earth His presence and His smile constitute the first dawnings of that better world. And he who lives most in the enjoyment of this- and oh, how much more may be enjoyed than we have the faintest conception of!- has most of the element of heaven in his soul.

Aim, then, to cultivate heavenly affections, by a life of high communion with God.

September 22

“A little while and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father.”

THE sacred friendships we form in our present state enter deeply into our future happiness. A bosom friend—and we now speak only of the sympathy which a mutual hope in Christ inspires—we feel to be a part of our own existence, an essential element of our intellectual and moral being. Such a friend is identified with our immortality. The affection inspired, the communion maintained, the communion enjoyed here, surely form but the embryo, the germ, of that friendship which, in its fullness and perfection, awaits us on high. The very character of earth’s sacred friendships points us to a fuller development. Is the communion, the communion, the reciprocation of feeling springing from a warm confidential and exclusive friendship, at all commensurate with the depth and intensity of the affection that inspires it? Alas! not so. How little and how imperfect here the communion of kindred hearts! Places, oceans, circumstances separate, and it is but now and then that we sip the sweets of a full and unalloyed communion. And then, how frequently does death step in, and cast its shadow and its blight over the heart’s fondest treasure! the thread is broken, and our bosom friend is gone! “A little while, and you shall not see me,” gently whispers each holy, precious friendship of the heart. It is but “a little while” we enjoy the friends God gives us, and then, disappearing within the veil of eternity, we see them no more. But are they lost? Oh no! Another voice is heard—it is as a voice from heaven speaking—”And again a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father.” Yes! it is but a “little while,” and we shall see them again; because they are safe in the house and reposing in the bosom of their Father.

And what is heaven? It is not a place of solitude and loneliness. There is society there—there is companionship there. And the life of the blessed will be a life of the closest personal communion and of the highest social enjoyment. And what beings in the Father’s house will be more likely to participate with us, and, by participation, heighten, the joys of heaven? Surely those who, in this lower world, were more closely than all others endeared and assimilated to us, by affection, providence, communion, and time. And when we have passed through the portal of death, and find ourselves in glory, who, amid the bright throng of redeemed spirits, will be the first objects of our eager search? Will it not be those who on earth we knew and loved better than others, and whose associations were so interwoven with our earthly and former life, that not to renew the same peculiar friendship, freed from all the imperfections of sin, and not to enjoy again the same hallowed communion, would be like the destruction of our consciousness and memory? Yes! a little while, and we shall see them again! Oh blessed reunion and of the holy dead! Beloved, in a little while we shall see them all again, because they are with the Father. Let us comfort one another with these words.