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your decaying faculties can hardly comprehend what that commemoration means? Will you adopt your creed, when your creed cannot operate and confess your Redeemer, not at his hallowed table, in the face of the congregation, but on a languid bed, in the presence of two or three individuals hastily called together, the parochial clerk, the menial domestic, and the drowsy nurse?
Of all places, perhaps, one of the least appropriate for the reception of the Holy Communion, (which imports a common or public act of the Church,) is an almost solitary death-chamber: and I am surprised and grieved to see Protestants, in the true spirit of monkish credulity, depending on a priest to pronounce absolution, and administer the sacred elements, as a sure viaticum, or passport to heaven. This is pitiable weakness: it is pitiable,—it is deplorable; because it lulls the soul in fond and fatal security, and seduces multitudes to put off, from month to month, and from year to year, the performance of a duty, which ought to be openly and publicly discharged at certain intervals, from the time we arrive at the age of maturity, till we can no longer meet together in the general assembly of believers.
No doubt, the sick and the dying cannot, in any way, so well exert the little strength that is left them as in prayer and pious exercises; and nothing should be neglected that may possibly contribute to save the soul alive; but, to regard the Sacrament, administered to the departing sinner, as an expiatory sacrifice for all his offences, and as conferring a kind of title to life eternal, is more consonant with the dark bigotry of Papal Rome, than with the reformed, rational faith of our enlightened Church; and savours more of the inventions of “ seducing spirits, speaking lies in hypocrisy," than of the “doctrine which is according to godliness.”
“I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God," — mercies displayed to men and angels by the voluntary oblation of the world's High-Priest, “who was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification,”
and, having made peace through the blood of his cross,” rescued and reconciled a guilty creation,-by these unspeakable mercies, I beseech you, “that ye present your bodies," while in their prime and vigour, while they are able to execute what the mind approves,- present them
-“ a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto
God:”—This “is your reasonable service,"—the service pointed out by reason, the service demanded by religion ;-and mock not your Creator with a dying sacrifice,—unholy, unacceptable,—the wretched relics of a childish intellect and a worn-out frame :- This is a service disclaimed by reason, rejected by religion. No longer, then, indulge the desperate hope of bribing an indignant Judge, when your day of trial is closing, with the worthless, the polluted offering of an expiring soul, unsanctified by actual reformation, and a disabled, useless carcase, which the expecting worm is already gaping to devour. This is “ the sacrifice of fools ;" -and by this extorted sacrifice, any more than by his own righteousness,“ shall no man living be justified."
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.
Acts, CHAP. 11. VER. 32.
“ This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are
Every obvious, and popular, and possible objection, which can be brought to bear against any system of faith, has been advanced against the Gospel; and the misapplied ingenuity of infidelity has sought arguments, with as much diligence and subtlety, against the promise of life and immortality, as though it were the denunciation of death and annihilation; and the opposition which is made, to this day, by many who have the means of information in their hands, to such a scheme of faith and morals, is the strongest proof how the intellect may be darkened by excessive vanity or habitual vice.
To endeavour to convince themselves, and persuade others (which is still the mischievous labour of vain scoffers) that the tender of pardon and peace to a race of sinners is a cunningly-devised fable, seems to me a more complete and fatal mark of folly and depravity, of the imbecility of the human understanding, and the corruption of the human heart, than any practical immorality, any turpitude of conduct. To the vicious excesses of passion and appetite, to the indulgences of sensual gratification, we are all too prone by nature; but the determined blindness and deliberate malignity of atheism and infidelity, is as monstrous and unnatural as it is impious and destructive.
There is nothing in the revelation of Jesus Christ, which a good mind, a mind disposed to virtue, can wish to think untrue; nothing which does not coincide with man's fondest expectations and most eager desires. Is he weak and helpless? The Gospel offers support and assistance :-Is he liable to sorrow! It offers consolation :-Is he ignorant ? It offers instruction : Is he corrupt by nature ? It offers sanctification by grace :-Is he descending down the slope of age to the thick darkness of the grave ? The