p. 281. That the sacramental bread is changed into the Lord Jesus Christ, the Living Saviour, God and man.

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2. The bread is called bread, and the wine wine, after consecration, both by our Lord Himself and His Apostles.

1. The words themselves prove that they are figurative. Turn to 1 Cor. xi. 25, where we read: 鈥淭his cup is the new testament in my blood.鈥 Is there any one blind enough to suppose that the cup was changed into the new testament? The words must mean that the cup was an emblem of the covenant. When our Lord said, 鈥淚 am the vine,鈥 鈥淚 am the door,鈥 鈥淚 am the bread of life,鈥 He did not mean that He was changed into a vine, into a door, or into bread, but that all these things were emblems of His work. So He says of the cup, that it is an emblem of the covenant; and if we would be consistent interpreters, we must believe also of the bread that it was declared to be an emblem of the body.

But here a question will arise in the minds of all those who really desire to make this sacrifice to the Lord, viz. What does it practically involve? What is the real meaning of it? What will be the practical result of such a sacrifice in our own life and character? Some will tell us that it involves the necessity of conventual life, a separation from common duties, and the seclusion of a nunnery, or the vows of a sisterhood. Let any one read this chapter through, and he will see at a glance that this is not the meaning of the Apostle. There are no rules there for a monastic order, but there are very full directions for common business, and common life. All such ideas, therefore, may be dismissed at once. That is not the meaning of the sacrifice. Then, what is? What p. 36is the sacrifice which we, living at home, are to offer to God?

鈥淏ut this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.鈥

It is scarcely needful to point out the unceasing repetition of the Jewish sacrifices. Not only were they offered on the occasion of every special fault, but every period of time was marked by them. The day, the week, the month, the year鈥攅ach had its appointed sacrifice. Not a day, nor even a night, passed without sin, and therefore there was a sacrifice each morning for the sins of the night, and another each evening for those of the day. (Exod. xxix. 38-40.) Not a week passed without adding its quota to the accumulating guilt of the sinner, and, therefore, notwithstanding the daily sacrifices, there was another burnt-offering in the morning of every p. 20sabbath. (Num. xxviii. 9, 10.) But, notwithstanding all this, sin, and the guilt of it, still gathered around the people, so that at the beginning of each month there was, in addition, a monthly burnt-offering unto the Lord: 鈥渢he burnt-offering of every month through the months of the year.鈥 (Ibid. 11, 14.) But sin gathered still. Lamb after lamb was brought to the altar, but it seemed as though nothing could satisfy: for every year, on the tenth day of the seventh month, there was the great day of atonement for sin; and of the solemn sacrifices of that great day it was said, 鈥淭his shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a-year.鈥 (Lev. xvi. 34.) Thus, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, there was an unceasing system of perpetual sacrifice. There was no end to the unceasing shedding of blood. Sometimes the victim was a bullock, sometimes a ram, sometimes a goat, sometimes a lamb, and sometimes a pair of turtle-doves. But there was always a sacrifice. There were two every day, and sometimes many more, besides those which were offered for special sins.

The sense of reverence may take a wrong as well as a right direction. It led John himself to worship an angel, and to bring on himself the severe reproof which he has so faithfully recorded, and it may lead misguided men to give that which is not God the worship due to God alone. But while we think this, let none fall short in the deepest reverence. None can adore Him enough; none can be holy enough in His presence and at His feet. But it p. 17is the living Saviour at the right hand of God whom we will adore. It is the Prince on the throne, the Priest at the right hand of the Father. It is the living, reigning, triumphant Saviour, 鈥渇ar above all principalities and powers, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come;鈥 and not a small piece of lifeless bread, which is said to have been turned into God by the miraculous powers of a priest.

3. Even if these words were taken literally, they would not teach the doctrine of Rome.

A glance at the text will show us that it refers to two subjects; the completeness of the sacrifice offered on the cross, as in the words, 鈥渁fter He had offered one sacrifice for sin for ever,鈥 and the present session at the right hand of God; as in the words, 鈥渟at down at the right hand of God.鈥 It is the second of these that we shall study this morning.4. Nay more, it is contrary to the words of our Lord. The words, as given by St. Matthew (xxvi. 26-28) were: 鈥淎nd as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.鈥 Of the bread, therefore, p. 14He said, 鈥淭his is my body;鈥 and of the wine, 鈥淭his is my blood.鈥 The bread did not represent the body and blood together, but the body only, and the wine the blood; or, if the doctrine of transubstantiation were taught, the passage would teach that the bread was changed into the body, and the wine into the blood. But the teaching of Rome defies all such distinctions, though thus plainly laid down by no less an authority than our Lord Himself, and fearlessly hurls her anathemas against all who do not believe that the bread, and the bread alone, is changed into body, blood, soul, and divinity, and becomes, to use their own expression, 鈥渁 whole Christ,鈥 to be exalted, carried in processions, and adored as a living God. The words themselves, taken literally, are dead against such a doctrine. I am not surprised, therefore, when I read our 28th Article, which says: 鈥淭ransubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture.鈥 But I am surprised that Christian people in the Church of England should sit so light as some seem to do to a heresy of so fearful a character, and that men p. 15should be so indifferent to truth as even to speak of the possibility of peace with Rome.

p. 64It is clear at a glance, that there is no allusion in either of these passages to general or habitual confession; and that the case contemplated is that of a person troubled by some particular sin weighing on the conscience, and keeping the soul from peace. It is just in such a case that the ministry of the word is required for the help of the individual; and that something more is wanted than the general preaching of the truth. Such a person requires the Gospel to be applied to his own particular anxiety, in order that he may be assured of God鈥檚 forgiveness of that particular sin which keeps his soul in trouble. It is this assurance which is called in the Prayer-book 鈥渁bsolution.鈥 There is a vast difference between a judicial act of forgiveness, and a declaration or assurance of the forgiveness by God. Thus, to 鈥渁bsolve鈥 is not to 鈥渇orgive,鈥 but to assure the troubled heart of the full forgiveness, freely granted, by the Lord Himself. [64] Nothing can be clearer than this distinction in the absolution in the service for the Visitation of the Sick. 鈥淥ur Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left power to His Church to absolve all sinners who truly p. 65repent and believe in Him, of His great mercy forgive thee thine offences: and by His authority, committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.鈥漰. 281. That the sacramental bread is changed into the Lord Jesus Christ, the Living Saviour, God and man.

In this present world we are in a mixed condition, and however truly we may be walking with God, there is the old man and the old nature left. It is just the same with us as it was of old with Canaan. Israel had taken possession, but the Canaanites were still in the land. So, even when the Lord Jesus has taken possession of the heart, there are sins still abiding there鈥攖empers, lusts, covetousness, selfishness, pride, and a thousand others鈥攕ome prevailing in one character and some in another. Now of all these the Christian man must be prepared to make a sacrifice鈥攈is temper, his pride, his ambition, his covetousness, his self-love; he must be prepared to bring all to the altar, without mercy and without reserve. Thus, in Col. iii. 5, St. Paul addresses those who are risen with Christ, and says, 鈥淢ortify therefore,鈥 or put to death, or sacrifice, 鈥測our members which are of the flesh: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.鈥 There is no occasion to be shut up within the walls of a nunnery for this; nor will the walls of a nunnery p. 37in the least help us to it, for they are just as effectual in shutting sin in as in shutting it out. Here is work for home life, and for all classes in home life鈥攆or husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants: we all have our great temptations, so we all have to throw ourselves heart and soul into the great struggle, and with an unsparing hand deal resolutely with besetting sin.

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     But here a question will arise in the minds of all those who really desire to make this sacrifice to the Lord, viz. What does it practically involve? What is the real meaning of it? What will be the practical result of such a sacrifice in our own life and character? Some will tell us that it involves the necessity of conventual life, a separation from common duties, and the seclusion of a nunnery, or the vows of a sisterhood. Let any one read this chapter through, and he will see at a glance that this is not the meaning of the Apostle. There are no rules there for a monastic order, but there are very full directions for common business, and common life. All such ideas, therefore, may be dismissed at once. That is not the meaning of the sacrifice. Then, what is? What p. 36is the sacrifice which we, living at home, are to offer to God?

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    Now all this is complete鈥攊t is finished; it was a Divine act, and man can add nothing to it. But, notwithstanding all this boundless mercy, man remains unchanged鈥攁 sinner still, and an alien from God. Though by atonement God is legally reconciled to him, he remains, through ignorance and hardness of heart, unreconciled to God; as far from life, therefore, as if nothing had ever been done for his salvation. And now you see at once the office of the ministry. The minister of reconciliation is to be the bearer to his fellow-sinners of the great reconciliation wrought out for us in Christ Jesus. He is employed by the Holy Ghost as a human instrument for bringing those who are still unreconciled into the sacred privilege of reconciliation with God. Sinners reconciled to God, therefore, are the great result of the ministry. It is very delightful to see a full church and attentive congregation; very encouraging to see large schools well taught and well filled鈥攁 very great cause of thankfulness to see kindness p. 55and good feeling prevailing in a parish. But all these things fall short of the great result. The real result is the reconciliation of precious souls to the Lord Jesus Christ by the blood of atonement shed for their sins on the cross. The real result is conversion to God, a new birth by the power of the Holy Ghost; and if that be wanting, though all beside seem prosperous, the minister of reconciliation should be brought on his knees with great searching of heart, and never rest till he can look on precious souls reconciled to God, to whom he may say, as St. Paul did to the Corinthians, 鈥淪uch were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.鈥

     Heb. x. 12.

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