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The communicant's sense of unworthiness.
have seen her on a throne. She wept and sobbed aloud for a long time. At length she said, Othat I was a Christian.' I tried to point out the way in which she should seek to be one indeed. I soon learnt that her mind was religiously impressed at the very time, and by the very circumstances, that mine was. That which agitated her on the present occasion was, her anxiety to join us in partaking of the Lord's supper. Although she had for some time felt a heavenly peace of mind, still she had such a deep sense of her own unworthiness, that it made her tremble to think of presuming to approach the table of the Lord. By her consent I went to the house, and intimated to the missionary that I wished to take a short walk with him : I immediately retraced my steps to the same tree, and on the way informed him of the object for which I had called him out. He appeared thoughtful, but said nothing.
" When we had come where my sister was, he sat himself down in the shade, and with an affectionate voice said, • I am rejoiced, Mary, to hear that you are desirous to set your face towards Zion. The holy eucharist which we are soon to celebrate, is designed “ to strengthen and refresh our souls,” that “we may run and not be weary, and that we may walk and not faint."
“He then took a Prayer Book out of his pocket, and continued, “ You feel too unworthy to come to the feast of the Lamb. I will read you part of the prayer in the communion service, immediately before the consecration of the elements, which is said in the name of all those who are about to receive the communion. - We do not presume to come to this thy table, 0 merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy." You see that none of us trust in our own worthiness, but in the worthiness of Christ. In going to the holy supper, you go trusting in the name and merits of Jesus. If you have truly repented
Administration of the Lord's supper to the sick.
of your sins, and are resolved to lead a new life, by refusing to go to the table of the Lord, you declare that you have not faith in the atoning blood of Christ.' We all returned in company to the house. The hour had arrived for the service to commence.
“ All that have ever witnessed the celebration of the Lord's supper in public, agreeably to the service of our church, pronounce it the most impressive scene that they ever witnessed. But there is something still more impressive where it is celebrated in a sick room.
" The idea that one of the persons who is about to partake of the sacred elements will, in a few hours, partake of the feast of the Lamb in the kingdom of God, spreads an awe and sacredness over every thing around us. son is one of our family friends, to whom we feel endeared by ten thousand sacred recollections.' Perhaps it is a mother. The traces of the bony fingers of death appear on her countenance. That
which watched over us in infancy and childhood is faded and sunken. That look of kindness which dwelt so fondly on us has almost disappeared beneath the pale signet of the king of terrors. - • There lies my mother, whose bosom was my pillow, and whose arms were my cradle. She is receiving the bread and wine for the last time on earth. Soon that dear form will be beneath the turf, and that pure spirit beyond the skies.' Othere is enough in these thoughts to hallow every feeling!
“I know not what may be the objection that some religious denominations have to administering the communion to the sick. I rejoice that our church recognises the propriety of it. It is certainly an act which invigorates the soul of the sick, and makes deep and lasting impressions upon those who witness it.
“Such, at all events, were the happy effects of the administration of the Lord's supper in the instance of which I am now speaking.
“ The service commenced. The voice of the missionary on this occasion was more than usually soft and plaintive.
The confession of sin.
He was a man of sensibility. He had heard the story of our afflictions, and he was acquainted with the history of our blessings. The promptings of his own heart expounded to him the meaning of that sacred injunction, 'of weeping with those that weep.'
To me the whole scene was a scene of intense interest. As the service proceeded, my thoughts became completely engrossed in the devotions of this sublime office. I was particularly struck with the confession. It seemed to meet my case exactly. Had an angel dictated it, it could not have expressed more fully the feelings that were then glowing in my bosom. It seemed as though we were in the very porch of heaven, as the missionary, with tremulous and silvery tones, breathed forth its penitential acknowledgments - Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men ; we acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we from time to time most grievously have committed, by thought, word, and deed, against thy divine majesty; provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; the remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father.' Never before did I feel so much the weight and hatefulness of sin, as while uttering this confession. Every now and then I heard my mother's voice faintly articulating some part of this prayer. In the sublime devotions of the communion service, her thoughts seemed to be borne away from earth.
“ The elements were now consecrated. I looked at my mother, and saw that she was calm and tranquil. Her eye rested upon myself and my brother, as we came forward, and kneeled before the table, on which were placed the symbols of the broken and bleeding body of Jesus. She seemed to look a blessing towards us. Twice had the man of God said, “The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto ever
A mother's emotions.
lasting life,' before my sister left her seat,-she then rose and came, and kneeled by my side. Her whole frame shook with emotion. My mother knew nothing of her state of mind, or of her determination.
“ To see her young and tender daughter so unexpectedly come forward and consecrate herself to God, aroused in her bosom a tide of feeling that she could not control. The tears rushed down her cheeks, and the serenity that had rested upon her countenance fled. She drew the clothes of the bed over her face, and sobbed aloud. For a few moments there was perfect silence in the room. Then, in trembling accents, the missionary proceeded in the administration of the sacrament. He went to my mother, and presented the elements to her. As she received the sacred chalice, ere she raised it to her lips, she lifted up her eyes, and said aloud, • Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. Mine eyes have seen all
my children eating at thy table. Grant that I and they may sit down together at thy table in thy kingdom above. I had thought to leave these children orphans, but they cannot be orphans, since adopted into thy family. Holy Father, keep, through thine own name, those whom thou hast given me. I
.pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from evil.'"
I cannot here refrain from relating an incident illustrative of the truth of several points adverted to in the preceding narrative, although it has no sort of connexion with the history of the M'Ellen family. Whatever tends to keep alive a spirit of devotion, and a principle of vital godliness in the wilderness, is worthy of attention.
About fifteen years ago, a young married couple, who had spent their childhood amid the industry, and staid habits, and multiplied religious privileges of a New England village, emigrated to the far west. The fourth year
A family in the far west.
after their marriage, they found themselves on the banks of the Mississippi, just opposite the point where that proud river receives, as its rich tributary, all the gathered waters of the Missouri. Never did the foot of man tread upon a richer soil, or the human eye gaze around upon a more beautiful scenery.
The land of prairies, of brooks and rivers, of corn and wheat, and of metals, was all before them.
Wealth began to flow in. Both sons and daughters, which are “ an heritage from the Lord,” were given to them. Their little flock began to appear, “like olive branches, round about their table.”
All this time, however, there was one very serious drawback to their comforts. Their religious privileges they had left behind them. There was a famine of the Word in the land in which they dwelt. Like many of New England's children, they had been blessed with pious parents. The efforts of those parents to lead their offspring to Christ had not been in vain. This couple, previous to their emigration, had taken upon them the vows of the covenant, and united themselves to the Lord as his people. They had been reared from their childhood in the bosom of the Episcopal church; and, when they were awakened to spiritual discernment, they found that she, in whose bosom they had been cherished, had drink for the thirsty, and bread for the hungry. Thus, their attachment to her communion became more ardent and devoted. For nine years, however, they lived on the banks of the Mississippi without seeing the face of an Episcopal clergyman, more than once or twice, during that whole period. Occasionally, they were permitted to hear a sermon from some itinerant preacher or missionary of the Methodist or Presbyterian church. Gladly did they embrace every such opportunity; and truly grateful did they feel to Heaven for this refreshment in the wilderness. As year after
year passed away, they became truly hungry for the bread of life. They longed to see again one of those days when