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the Christian thanks God for them. If blessings are bestowed, they are received as given through a Saviour. In every providence, his voice, his hand, and his love may
be marked. All are designed to lead us to dearer communion with him. All should be viewed as the manifestation of his care and wisdom, his compassion and tenderness. The Christian has ears to hear this voice, has eyes to see this hand, has a heart to feel this love. He knows Christ and is known of him.
Christians have an unreserved communion with Christ. Drawn by his Spirit they rejoice to go to him. They love his day, his house, , his people, and every path of duty, where they find their Saviour. His grace descends on them, and their hearts are raised to him. Truly, says St. John, our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. There is no friendship on earth so entire, so unreserved, and so invaluable, as that which subsists between Christ and the faithful soul. It is a friendship which has ever subsisted between the believer and his God. Enoch walked with God. Abraham was called the friend of God. Jesus said to his disciples-Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knowelh not what his Lord doeth; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you. How many are the benefits of having such a friend! He is a friend always near at hand, ever willing to hear us, who bears with our infirmities, who instructs us with the wisest counsel, gives us the most effectual aid, and never leaves us nor forsakes us. He is an unchanging and an unchangeable friend. The Christian's privilege is to know this friend, consult him, ask for his guid
ance, converse with him, tell him all his sorrows, and all his sins, depend on him for support in all difficulties, for supplies in all wants, and cast all his care upon
him. Thus he has communion with Christ. This communion is speCIALLY ENJOYED AT HIS TABLE. A blessed intercourse with Christ as of one friend with another, and an exchange of the endearing pledges of mutual love, are what this sacrament is greatly calculated to promote. What Christian has not found, that as the eyes of the disciples at Emmaus were opened, our Lord making himself known to them in the breaking of bread; so sometimes now at his table, he manifests himself to his people, and they too are ready to say to each other,--Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us by the way?
Just after the first reception of the Lord's Supper, and with a direct reference to that institution, our Lord said, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. Mark xiv, 25; see also Matt. xxvi, 29. The term new, often signifies the excellence, truth, and superior nature of what was so named; and wine is a common figure for joy and gladness. The kingdom of God may either refer to his spiritual kingdom in this world, or his kingdom of glory hereafter.. Under this figure, then, of drinking new wine with his disciples, our Lord may intend to denote the passing away of the Jewish, and the superior excellence of the Christian Dispensation, the joy of his people through the power of the Holy Ghost in their Saviour, and his joy in them, both in the church militant on earth, and in that triumphant above. And as the passage is connected with the Lord's Supper, it seems to include a
blessed promise of a peculiar communion with his people in their due observance of that Institution, In this view of the Lord's Supper, we have here not only communion with our Christian brethren, but have the highest and most delightful communion with our Saviour in that spiritual kingdom which he has established on earth, as well as the happy prospect of being ever with him in the heavenly kingdom.
The mode of expression-Drinking new wine in the kingdom of God, suggests many encouraging thoughts.
It shews us that Christ there PECULIARLY MANIFESTS HIS PRESENCE. Though invisible to the eye of sense, the eye of faith can behold him as the present and the real Head of his family; not only coming in like the king in the marriage supper, to see the guests, but, though unseen, presiding over all who assemble around his table, and blessing them according to their wants. How refreshing the thought, that here Christ is, as it were, inviting every faithful disciple to partake of his blessings, saying, --Eat, О friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly, 0 beloved! A supply for every want of our souls is thus offered and assured to
The atonement through his blood, the remission of sins, the love of God, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and all the blessings of the new covenant, are afresh exbibited and assured to every-believer by the apo pointed ministers of Christ, and under his special direction,
The expression drinking new wine, suggests also that FREEDOM with which we here have intercourse with our Lord. We feel a degree of liberty and freedom with those with whom we are permitted to eat and drink. The Christian has this blessed freedom of
access to Him, who is God over all, blessed for ever; to one higher than the highest. Our Lord condescends to say,- If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in and will sup with him, and he with me. Rev. iii, 20. The great Monarch that Christians obey, puts on no haughty and distant coldness and reserve: though infinite dignity and glory are shed around him, all is softened by infinite condescension, grace, and love. While Christians have the King of kings for their Lord and Saviour, they have a perfect freedom of access to this great King, even as to a bosom friend.
This communion is calculated to fill us with Joy. The most enlightened, devoted, and comprehensive mind, cannot conceive a higher joy on earth than that which he experiences, on whom the Lord lifts up the light of his countenance. The most exquisite earthly enjoyments, the tenderest sensibilities of our nature, joined to the highest delights of human friendship and love, are all 'poor and vain, compared with those superior joys which Christ can and does bestow on his friends. What communion on earth can be like communion with our God? What love on earth equals his who died for us, and who lives to make intercession for us? Whose excellencies of wisdom, equity, tenderness, power, and glory, can compare with Christ's? Are we privileged to have access to the wonderful Counsellor, the mighty God, the Prince of Peace? surely, the very prospect of it should excite the liveliest desire after it; the enjoyment of it should make the pleasures of the world for ever worthless and tasteless. Christian reader! lose not your happiness in the mere vanities of time and sense, but
seek to rise to the full enjoyment of your amazing privileges.
This subject may well afford great consolation in all the troubles of this life. Whatever your difficulties may be, whether from the state of your affairs, from the perverseness of those around you, from the power of indwelling sin, or from many temptations; still, spiritual communion with your Saviour in his kingdom of grace, and the hope of full and perfect enjoyment of him in his kingdom of glory, may well both support and console you. Come then to Jesus in every period of sorrow. He is your Refuge and Strength. In communion with him, every trouble will be greatly mitigated, or altogether removed. What tongue can tell the happiness of him who lives with his Saviour as with an ever-present companion and guide; who has coinmunion with Jesus as an almighty, all-sufficient Friend; who became man for our salvation, and is still touched with a feeling of our infirmities, and sympathises with us!
But communion with Christ here on earth, however enjoyed, whether in daily prayer, in his house, through his providences, by his word, or at his table, is the sure PLEDGE of eternal abiding with him in the glory which is to come. Those who hear the voice of Christ, whom he knows and who follow him, his people, and of them he says, give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hands.
It is not only the pledge, it is also the FORETASTB of this bliss. The beginning of those eternal joys which sliall never fail, When in a right spirit you surround the Lord's table, you have a type and