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strained the text if he had said that there was in the contribution the very essence of communion. Gill, in his commentary upon the above verse, most pertinently remarks, “Contribution, or communion, as the word signifies, it being one part of the communion of Churches and of saints to relieve their poor by communicating to them.” The same word is employed in Hebrews xiii. 16, and is there translated by the word communicate.“But to do good and to communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." It occurs again in 2 Corinthians ix. 13, “ And for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;" and in numerous other passages the careful student will observe the word in various forms, representing the ministering of the saints to one another as an act of fellowship. Indeed, at the Lord's supper, which is the embodiment of communion, we have ever been wont to make a special contribution for the poor of the flock, and we believe that in the collection there is as true and real an element of communion as in the partaking of the bread and wine. The giver holds fellowship with the receiver when he bestows his benefaction for the Lord's sake, and because of the brotherhood existing between him and his needy friends. The teacher holds communion with the young disciple when he labours to instruct him in the faith, being moved thereto by a spirit of Christian love. He who intercedes for a saint because he desires his well-being as a member of the "one family," enters into fellowship with his brother in the offering of prayer. The loving and mutual service of Church-members is fellowship of a high degree. And let us remember that the recipient communes with the benefactor: the communion is not confined to the giver, but the heart overflowing with liberality is met by the heart brimming with gratitude, and the love manifested in the bestowal is reciprocated in the acceptance. When the hand feeds the mouth or supports the head, the divers members feel their union, and sympathize with one another; and so is it with the various portions of the body of Christ, for they commune in mutual acts of love.

Now this meaning of the word communion, furnishes us with much instruction, since it indicates the manner in which recognized fellowship with Jesus is commenced and maintained, namely, by giving and receiving, by communication and reception. The Lord's Supper is the divinely-ordained exhibition of communion, and therefore in it there is the breaking of bread and the pouring forth of wine to picture the free gift of the Saviour's body and blood to us; and there is also the eating of the one and the drinking of the other, to represent the reception of these priceless gifts by us. As without bread and wine there could be no Lord's Supper, so without the gracious bequests of Jesus to us there would have been no communion between him and our souls: and as participation is necessary before the elements truly represent the meaning of the Lord's ordinance, so is it needful that we should receive his bounties and feed upon his person before we can commune with him.

It is one branch of this mutual communication which we have selected as the subject of this paper. “Looking unto Jesus," who hath delivered us from our state of enmity, and brought us into fellowship with himself, we pray for the rich assistance of the Holy Spirit, that both writer and reader may be refreshed in spirit, and encouraged to draw more largely from the covenant storehouse of Christ Jesus the Lord.

We shall take a text and proceed at once to our delightful task, And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.(John i. 16.)

As the life of grace is first begotten in us by the Lord Jesus, so is it constantly sustained by him. We are always drawing from this sacred fountain, always deriving sap from this divine root. Now as Jesus communes with us in the bestowing of mercies, it is our privilege to hold fellowship with him in the receiving of them.

There is this difference between Christ and ourselves, he never gives without manifesting fellowship, but we often receive in so ill a manner that communion is not reciprocated, and we therefore miss the heavenly opportunity of its enjoyment. We frequently receive grace insensibly, that is to say, the sacred oil runs through the pipe and maintains our lamp, while we are unmindful of the secret influence. We


also be the partakers of many mercies which, through our dulness, we do not perceive to be mercies at all; and at other times well-known blessings are recognised as such, but we are backward in tracing them to their source and original in the covenant made with Christ Jesus. Following out the suggestion of our explanatory preface, we can well believe that when the poor saints received the contribution of their brethren, many of them did in earnest acknowledge the fellowship which was illustrated in the generous offering, but it is probable that some of them merely looked upon the material of the gift, and failed to see the spirit moving in it. Sensual thoughts in some of the receivers might possibly, at the season when the contribution was distributed, have mischievously injured the exercise of spirituality, for it is possible that after a period of poverty they would be apt to give greater prominence to the fact that their need was removed than to the sentiment of fellowship with their sympathising brethren. They would rather rejoice over famine averted than concerning fellowship manifested. We doubt not that in many instances the mutual benefactions of the Church fail to reveal our fellowship to our poor brethren, and produce in them no feelings of communion with the givers. Now this sad fact is an illustration of the yet more lamentable statement which we have made. We again assert, that as many of the partakers of the alms of the Church are not alive to the communion contained therein, so the Lord's people are never sufficiently attentive to fellowship with Jesus in receiving his gifts, but many of them are entirely forgetful of their privilege, and all of them are too little aware of it. Nay, worse than this, how often doth the believer pervert the gifts of Jesus into food for his own sin and wantonness! We are not free from the fickleness of ancient Israel, and well might our Lord address us in the same language ! “Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness:

: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine. Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen,

and I covered thee with silk. I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God. But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown; and of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours." (Ezek. xvi. 8—16.) Ought not the mass of professors to confess the truth of this accusation? Have not the bulk of us most sadly departed from the purity of our love? We rejoice, however, to observe a remnant of choice spirits, who live near the Lord, and know the sweetness of fellowship. These receive the promise and the blessing and so digest them that they become good blood in their veins, and so do they feed on their Lord that they grow up into him. Let us imitate those elevated minds, and obtain their high delights. There is no reason why the meanest of us should not be as David, and David as the servant of the Lord. We may now be dwarfs, but growth is possible; let us therefore aim at a higher stature. We have long enough dwelt in the valleys, let us away to the mountains and make our pasture upon high places. Let the succeeding advice be followed, and, the Holy Spirit helping us, we shall have attained thereto.

Alake every time of need a time of embracing of thy Lord. Do not leave the mercy-seat until thou hast clasped him in thine arms. In every time of need he has promised to give thee grace to help, and what withholdeth thee from obtaining sweet fellowship as a precious addition to the promised assistance? Be not as the beggar who is content with the alms, however grudgingly it may be cast to him, but since thou art a near kinsman, seek a smile and a kiss, with every benison he gives thee. Is he not better than his mercies? What are they without him? Cry aloud unto him, and let thy petition reach his ears, "O my Lord, it is not enough to be a partaker of thy bounties, I must have thyself also; if thou dost not give me thyself with thy favours, they are but of little use to me. O smile on me, when thou blessest me, for else I am still unblest. Thou puttest perfume into all the flowers of thy garden, and fragrance into thy spice, if thou withdrawest thyself, they are no more pleasant to me. Come, then, my Lord, and give me thy love with thy grace." Take good heed, Christian, that thine own heart is in right tune, that when the fingers of mercy touch the strings, they may resound with full notes of communion. How sad is it to partake of favour without rejoicing in it, but such is often the believer's case. The Lord casts his lavish bounties at our doors, and we, like churls, will scarce look out to thank him. Our ungrateful hearts and unthankful tongues mar our fellowship, by causing us to miss a thousand opportunities for exercising it.

If thou wouldst enjoy communion with the Lord Jesus in the reception of his grace, endeavour to be always sensibly drawing supplies from Him. Make thy needs public in the streets of thine heart, and when the supply is granted, let all the powers of thy soul be present at the reception of it. Let no mercy come into thine house unsung. Note in thy memory, the list of thy Master's benefits. Wherefore should the Lord's bounties be hurried away in the dark, or buried in forgetfulness? Keep the gates of thy soul ever open, and sit thou by the wayside to watch the treasures of grace which God the Spirit hourly conveys into thy heart from Jehovah-Jesus, thy Lord.

Never let an hour pass without drawing upon the bank of heaven. If all thy wants seem satisfied, look stedfastly until the next moment brings another need, and then delay not, but with this warrant of necessity, hasten to thy treasury again. Thy necessities are so numerous that thou wilt never lack a reason for applying to the fulness of Jesus; but if ever such an occasion should arise, enlarge thine heart, and then there will be need of more love to fill the wider space.

But do not allow any supposititious riches of thine own to suspend thy daily receivings from the Lord Jesus. You have constant need of him. You need his intercession, his upholding, his sanctification; you need that he should work all your works in you, and that he should preserve you unto the day of his appearing. There is not one moment of your life in which you can do without Christ. Therefore be always at his door, and the wants which you bemoan, shall be remembrancers to turn your heart unto your Saviour. Thirst makes the hart pant for the waterbrooks, and pain reminds man of the physician. Let your wants conduct you to Jesus, and may the blessed Spirit reveal him unto you while he lovingly affords you the rich supplies of his love. Go, poor saint, let thy poverty be the cord to draw thee to thy rich Brother. Rejoice in the infirmity which makes room for grace to rest upon thee, and be glad that thou hast constant needs which compel thee perpetually to hold fellowship with thine adorable Redeemer.

Study thyself, seek out thy necessities, as the housewife searches for chambers where she may bestow her summer-fruits. Regard thy wants as rooms to be filled with more of the grace of Jesus, and suffer no corner to be unoccupied. Pant after more of Jesus. Be covetous after him. Let all the past incite thee to seek greater things. Sing the song of the enlarged heart

“ All this is not enough: methinks I grow
More greedy by fruition ; what I

Serves but to set
An edge upon my appetite;
And all thy gifts invite

My pray’rs for more." Cry out to the Lord Jesus to fill the dry beds of thy rivers until they overflow, and then empty thou the channels which have hitherto been filled with thine own self-sufficiency, and beseech him to fill these also with his superabundant grace. If thy heavy trials sink thee deeper in the flood of his consolations, be glad of them; and if thy vessel shall be sunken up to its very bulwarks, be not afraid—I would be glad to feel the mast-head of my soul twenty fathoms beneath the surface of such an ocean; for, as Rutherford said, “O to be over the ears in this well! I would not have Christ's love entering into me, but I would enter into it, and be swallowed up of that love.” Cultivate an insatiable hunger and a quenchless thirst for this communion with Jesus

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through his communications. Let thine heart cry for ever, “Give, give," until it is filled in Paradise.

“O'ercome with Jesu's condescending love,
Brought into fellowship with him and his,
And feasting with him in his house of wine,
I'm sick of love-and yet I pant for more
Communications from my loving Lord.
Stay me with flagons full of choicest wine,
Press'd from his

heart upon Mount Calvary,
To cheer and comfort my love-conquer'd soul.

Thyself I crave!
Thy presence is my life, my joy, my heav'n,
And all, without thyself, is dead to me.
Stay me with flagons, Saviour, hear my cry,
Let promises, like apples, comfort me;
Apply atoning blood, and cov’nant love,
Until I see thy face among the guests

Who in thy Father's kingdom feast." Nymphas by J. IRONS. This is the only covetousness which is allowable: but this is not merely beyond rebuke, it is worthy of commendation. O saints, be not straightened in your own bowels, but enlarge your desires, and so receive more of his measureless fulness. I charge thee, my soul, thus to hold continual fellowship with thy Lord, since he invites and commands thee thus to partake of his riches.

Rejoice thyself in benefits received. Let the satisfaction of thy spirit overflow in streams of joy. When the believer reposes all his confidence in Christ, and delights himself in him, there is an exercise of communion. If he forgetteth his psalm-book, and instead of singing is found lamenting, the mercies of the day will bring no communion. Awake, O music! stir up thyself, O my soul, be glad in the Lord and exceedingly rejoice. Behold his favours, rich, free, and continual-shall they be buried in unthankfulness? Shall they be covered with a windingsheet of ingratitude? No! I will praise him. I must extol him. Sweet Lord Jesus, let me kiss the dust of thy feet, let me lose myself in thankfulness, for thy thoughts unto me are precious, how great is the sum of them! Lo, I embrace thee in the arms of joy and gratitude, and herein I find my soul drawn unto thee.

This is a blessed method of fellowship. It is kissing the divine lip of benediction with the sanctified lip of affection. O for more rejoicing grace. More of the songs of the heart, more of the melody of the soul.

Seek to recognise the source of thy mercies as lying alone in him who is our head. Imitate the chicken, which, every time it drinketh of the brook, lifts up its head to heaven, as if it would return thanks for every drop. If we have anything that is commendable and gracious, it must come from the Holy Spirit, and that Spirit is first bestowed on Jesus, and then through him on us. The oil was first poured on the head of Aaron, and thence it ran down upon his garments. Look on the drops of grace and remember that they distil from the head, Christ Jesus. All thy rays are begotten by this Sun of Righteousness, all thy showers are poured from this heaven, all thy fountains spring from this great and immeasurable depth. O for grace to see the hand of Jesus on every favour, so will communion be constantly and firmly in exercise. May the great Teacher perpetually direct us to Jesus by making the

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