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occasion when He fed the five thousand. But Jesus did not now give the bread to feed the bodies of hungry men. He was giving the true Bread of Souls. And He said, “ Take, eat; this is My Body.” And He took the cup, saying, “ Drink ye all of it; for this is My Blood ” (St. Matt. xxvi. 26, 28).
The Holy Communion is a mystery. The wisest of men cannot understand exactly how Jesus gives Himself to us in this Holy Sacrament. Our senses have no idea what spirit is. And herein Jesus gives us spiritual food, having expressly warned us that His words must be understood in a spiritual and not in a carnal, earthly sense (St. John vi. 63).
Therefore, without trying to look too deeply into mysteries which God does not enable us to understand, we believe that what Jesus says He most certainly performs; and that in the Holy Communion He still makes good His promise and gives Himself to His faithful people.
Does any one ask, What does God give to men in the Holy Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ? The answer is, Communion with Jesus. The term “ Holy Communion as applied to this Holy Sacrament exactly describes what it is. It is a real communion with Jesus ; according to His own words, “He that eateth My Flesh, and
12 BIBLE THOUGHTS ABOUT HOLY COMMUNION.
drinketh My Blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him” (St. John vi. 56).
And if we have communion with Jesus, all things are within our reach. Hear Him saying, “I am the Door” (St. John x. 9); in Him and through Him we find the open way to life. Hear Him saying again, “I am the Resurrection and the Life" (St. John xi. 25); in Him we partake in the Resurrection, and share in His Eternal Life. “ Whoso eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, hath eternal life ; and I will raise him up at the last day” (St. John vi. 54). And accordingly the words are said to every communicant, “ The Body and Blood of Christ preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life."
HOW TO PREPARE FOR HOLY COMMUNION.
tions how to prepare for Holy Communion. Question.—What is required of them who come to the Lord's Supper?
Answer. --To examine themselves, whether they repent them truly of their former sins, steadfastly purposing to lead a new life; have a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of His death; and be in charity with all men.
Three points are thus pressed upon us as necessary : 1, repentance ; 2, faith ; 3, charity. And we are urged to examine ourselves upon them, in accordance with the words of St. Paul : “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” (1 Cor. xi. 28).
In this work of self-examination, we need to remember that the warnings of St. Paul (1 Cor. xi. 27–84) against communicating unworthily apply to such as should presume to come in a careless spirit, as if to partake of common food, "not discerning the Lord's Body"; but they do not apply to those who try to prepare for this service, though they have to mourn over many sins.
FORM OF PREPARATION. Think :-I am in the presence of Almighty God. Thou, God, seest me."
Have I thanked God for mercies and blessings, especially those sent in answer to prayer ? Have I given thank-offerings according to my means ?
Have I endeavoured to do my duty to my fellowmen, as husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, employer, servant? &c.
Am I in charity with all ?
Have I given way to worldliness, pride, anger, intemperance, bad words, dishonesty, discontent, uncharitableness ?
Have I been watchful against my besetting sin since my last Communion ?
At stated times it is well to examine our lives by the Ten COMMANDMENTS.
Turn to them (see page 24), with the thought, My duty towards God and my duty towards my neighbour, how have I discharged them? Then go carefully through the meaning of each Commandment there given.
Remember :-Sin consists as much of omission as of commission (see St. Matt. xxv. 41-48). Faith, reverence, and righteousness are positive duties. We are required to believe in God, to serve God, and to do right, as much as we are required to abstain from doing wrong. The Christian can never be satisfied with himself. If he has avoided evil and abstained from doing wrong, he has still a boundless field of duty before him. He has a mountain to climb, at the top of which is perfection. The more he examines himself, the higher will the mountain above him be seen to be.
Prayer for true sorrow for sin. LMIGHTY God, who art of purer eyes than
to behold iniquity, teach me to know my sinfulness and Thy hatred of sin ; and of Thy great mercy grant that I may be filled with a godly sorrow, and so bewail mine offences against Thee, that I may be reconciled to Thee by true repentance; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.