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The Rev. Samuel Marsden, first chaplain to the Colony of New South Wales, in 1819, visited the missions established in this Island. After mentioning that divine service was performed on one occasion, on the Sunday in a shed, where the four great men in New Zealand, (Shungee, King George, Pomaree, and Racow) attended ; Mr. Marsden says—"all behaved with decorum, and we hope that the day is not far distant, when they will know the joyful sound of the Gospel, and have the Lord for their God, in the fullest
In the evening we had divine service; and afterwards, the holy Sacrament was administered in this distant land; the solemnity of which did not fail to excite in our hearts sensations and feelings corresponding with the peculiar situation in which we were. We looked back to the period when this holy ordinance was first instituted in Jerusalem, in the presence of our Lord's disciples ; and adverted to the peculiar circumstances under which it was now administered, at the very ends of the earth, where a single ray of divine revelation had never till now dawned on the inhabitants."
Which of our Lord's disciples at its first institution would have imagined it should be observed through extended
and in the most remote parts of the earth ? and why should we not pow, who have seen such large steps taken towards such a result as we are .considering, hope for its universal observance.
Consider also THE EFFECT OF SUCH A UNIVERSAL REMEMBRANCE of Christ. When the death of Christ is duly and generally remembered, and has, through the abundant gift of the Holy Ghost, its right influence on men, they will no longer live to themselves, but to him that died for them.
Divisions will cease, and Christians all be one. John xvii, 21. The whole race of man will be as ONE vast FAMILY, have one will, one heart, one aim, and one labour. It will be felt that there is one Lord, one faith, one hope, one God and Father of all, above all, through all,- and in them all. Righteousness and truth, goodness and kindness, will universally prevail. Love to God, and love to each other will fill the earth as they now fill heaven; and in some happy degree these words will be fulfilled; Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
It was once said of the three thousand first converted to the Christian faith,--they continued stedfastly in the Apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayer. We may hope that this description will hereafter be true, not merely of one body of believers in one place, but of all the various and multiplied nations of the earth, in every land.
A late writer, in the following paraphrase on that petition in the Lord's prayer, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, has delightfully intimated the blessedness of such a conformity to the divine will as we may then expect. “ In heaven thy will is the inviolable law. Myriads of ministers encircle thy throne, who cease not to celebrate and serve thee with uninterrupted praises, and unerring obedience. O that such fidelity were found on earth! that the sons of men did even now resemble that celestial society, to which they hope hereafter to be united! were animated with the like holy ardent zeal, and could give themselves to God with the same entire devotion! We are blind
and vain, but thou art wise and good. Wise therefore in thy wisdom, secure under thy care, great and happy in bumility and subjection, we have no wishes but in thee. Our whole desire and glory is to be, to do, to suffer, whatsoever thou art pleased to appoint."
Christian reader! does not true zeal for the glory of God, and enlarged benevolence for the best happiness of upan, equally excite us to pray and labour for the advancement of such a state of blessedness. What a world would this be, if that peaceful, meek, kind, and tender spirit, in which we often come from the Lord's table were universally diffused ! Meu would be like angels, and earth like heaven. Yes; what a happy world would this be even now, if all men could, on good grounds, hope that they had received the Holy Spirit, were children of God, and going to his heavenly kingdom; and if the communion of saints were a general blessing. Thus the Lord shall comfort Zion, he will comfort all her waste places ; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody. Isa, li, 3. Supposing the Lord's Supper to be devoutly and universally observed, it would be as the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and the leares of the tree, were for the healing of the nations.
Let us then remember that there is much within our own reach for aiding the coming on of this blessed time. Every step in the way of righteousness helps to advance and bring it on; every sin which we commit retards its progress, and does something towards hiudering not only our own happiness, but the general
happiness of the human race. Let us remember, that every additional communicant gained to attend the Lord's Supper in a right spirit, who before altogether neglected it, or attended it only formally, is another inroad on the kingdom of darkness, sin, and misery; and another approach towards the universal establishment of that blessed empire, which is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy, in the Holy Ghost.
On Communion with Christ.
The Communion of the body and blood of Christ, is a means of enjoying communion with him on earth, and also a pledge of that glorious coinmunion which Christians hope for in heaven.
There is a communion, a holy and a delightful interchange of affectionate communication between Christ and his people. This agreement, fellowship, and friendship, (and we have the authority of Scripture for applying even such terms to so high and heavenly an intercourse) are so near, entire, and intimate, that the same Scripture compares the union between Christ and his people to that of the husband and the wife. Ephes. V, 29–32. The vine and the branches. John
The body and the menībers. 1 Cor. xii, 12–27.
It is a communion promised to all his obedient disciples.--He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me : and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. When Judas, on hearing these words, asked how the Lord would manifest himself to them, and not to the world, he replies-- If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. Hence it is clear that there is a peculiar manifestation of Christ to his people.
The world, as our Lord intimates, knows not of this communion; it understands it not; it ridicules the idea. But still the real Christian is privileged to enjoy a sensible, perceptible, and enlivening intercourse with his Lord. He has a secret and spiritual access to bim, and comfort from him. Jesus Christ is his best friend, and his gracious support, refuge, and strength.
Jesus Christ speaks to him THROUGH THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. Often by them he is touched and affected with godly sorrow for sin, with ardent desires after holiness, and with a lively hope of future glory. Often in reading the sacred volume he hears the voice of Christ, and thus is led to communion with him. His Saviour more directly still imparts grace to his soul, by the gift and teaching of THE HOLY GHOST, whose office it is to take of the things of Christ and 'shew them to us. Thus do we discover his
grace and glory, long for his presence, and earnestly seek him. He to whom all power in heaven and earth is given, speaks again in HIS PROVIDENCE. If trials and sorrows are sent, consolations are generally at the same time so mingled with them, that in his best moments