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munion of the body of Christ ? Those words of our catechism contain either a great truth or a great error“ That the inward part or the thing signified, is the body and blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper.” And if we were not unbelieving, or at least unperceiving, the great blessedness of that holy ordinance, Christ's people would not be found so languid in their attendance upon it. We read, in the twentieth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, respecting the Lord's Supper, that it was the chief purpose of the disciples, meeting together on the first day of the week. In the seventh verse we read that npon the first day of the week the disciples came together to break bread, and Paul preached unto them. It does not say that they came together to hear Paul preach; although he was an eminent apostle and but a stranger amongst them, yet they did not come together on the first day of the week to hear Paul ; they came together to break bread. Those disciples realized the blessing of the Lord's Supper, for they felt that to meet Christ was far better than to meet Paul; that to realize the presence of their Saviour at the holy table was so infinitely above the words that even an inspired man could speak to them; they came together on the first day of the week to break bread.
Brethren, if we truly realized that the Lord's table was indeed his table, although that bread is but bread, and no more than bread after it is consecrated, and although that wine is but wine, and no more than wine after consecration, yet that it has the promise of Christ tied to it, that it has the blessing of Christ given to it, that it is the appointed means, or but a golden pipe, it may be, emptying itself, yet that it is an appointed means of pouring the body and blood of Christ into our souls; if we were awake to our wants, if we were alive to our privileges, if we were hungering and thirsting after divine life, could it be that so small a number would arise from their slumbers in the morning, and be found at the holy table when the bell tolls ? And, knowing that the table of the Lord is spread, that the sacrament of Christ's body and blood is there, and yet that Christ's people can answer, “ I have put off my coat, how can I put it on ?” though it is the Saviour himself that invites them,though they have only to put themselves to a little bodily inconvenience that they may meet with Jesus, that they may realize his presence, and test the truth of those words, “ The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ? and the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?"
These are but some of the ordinances which Christ has appointed in his church, and yet they are sufficient to illustrate the meaning of this parable, and to tell us what Jesus meant when he said, The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps." How needful it is to ask ourselves, do we mean for the future to be amongst the wise virgins or amongst the foolish virgins? Are we hereafter to realize the presence of Christ in his own ordinances, realizing them and employing them to our souls' blessing? We have heaven before us in all its eternal blessedness; we have Jesus coming to us in all his heavenly glory. We have the bride, the. Lamb's wife, now under preparation in heaven for that blessed hour--that speedily-coming hour-when it shall be said, “Let us be glad and rejoice, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."
One voice of God's providence after another is speaking to us, trumpet-tongued, that we are coming to those
times when that midnight cry shall be heard, Behold the bridegroom cometh.” The fig-tree is beginning to put forth its buds, and the approach of summer is beginning to indicate his coming. We have the warning voice, and we have the encouraging voice of God's word and God's spirit.
0, brethren, let not these sounds pass by us unheeded, for they are not unfounded, let not Christ's admonition be forgotten by us, for heaven and earth shall pass away, but His word shall not pass away. And, if it is Christ that says to us,
“ Watch !” let us watch. Watch! for
ye know neither the day nor the hour where in the Son of man cometh. Surely, the least his people can do is to obey that injunction and be found watching; blessed, says Jesus, is that servant whom, his lord when he cometh, shall find so doing: blessed indeed shall those wise virgins be who shall enter in with their Saviour into the wedding feast, and sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets of the Kingdom of God. Blessed will be the condition of those who, fearless of man, are seeking only the teaching of God's spirit, making use in a prayerful spirit of all the appointed means of grace, and laying hold upon all the revealed hope of glory. Blessed are those servants who thus will be found amongst the wise virgins taking oil in their vessels and their lamps, aroused and awake to meet the bridegroom, and prepared to hear him say :
“Come ye blessed children of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM.
PARABLE OF THE TALENTS.
St. MATTHEW, xxv. 24.- “ For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance : but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”
False views of the divine nature and character lie at the root of all false practice and all mistakes in religion; for, until the heart rightly appreciates what God is, man can never rightly serve God or feel rightly towards him. The parable before us very strikingly teaches us that the unprofitable servant was he who looked upon God as an austere taskmaster, gathering where he had not strewed, and reaping where he had not sown : unaware of the real goodness of the divine character, he was unfit for the blessedness of the divine presence, and his end was this-"Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” We should bear in mind that this awful sentence is not the mere exercise of sovereignty on the part of God, but it is deeply seated in the nature of things. It could not be that he who has untrue views of the divine love could dwell with comfort in that divine pre