"And they drew near unto the village where they went, and He made as though He would have gone farther; but they constrained Him, saying, Abide with us—for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent" (Luke 24:28, 29).

Words spoken by two wayfarers, in all probability disciples—not apostles—lowly men who were slowly retracing their steps amid struggling emotions of sorrow. It was, too, on their return from the City of Solemnities, at the close of the Great Jewish Paschal Feast, that Jesus met them.

The verses are surely appropriate for my own afterthought and meditation at a similar hour—and as it is the retrospect of a Communion season, I may well include in these thoughts my fellow-guests. The services of the Holy Table are over; but, 'Lord, abide with us!' It is 'toward evening.' The sun is westering. The gates of the Banqueting House are closed, and the Festal worshipers have dispersed—'Lord, abide with us!'

'Toward evening'—In another sense this may be true with some who partook of the sacred Ordinance. Night is the emblem of sorrow and trial. Their walk today with their beloved Savior may have been an eventide one—the darkness may have been gathering, the earthly sun setting or set.—Let this be their prayer—'Lord, abide with us!' It is 'toward evening;'—with others the day of their life may be shortening—their sun is past its meridian; the lengthening shadows portend approaching nightfall. In the prospect of the final and solitary hour, they too may breathe the invocation—'Lord, abide with us!' We are all of us, however diverse our age and experience, advancing on the pilgrim journey; the milestones are decreasing; the grains in life's sand-glass diminishing—Eternity is nearing. Every returning Sacrament; every month, every day, every hour, may well deepen the solemnity of the prayer, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent!"

How am I best to fulfill the vows and perpetuate the blessings of a Communion occasion? It is to take Jesus with me from His Holy Table—the living, loving Brother on the Throne, as my abiding Friend; to have the habitually realized consciousness of His presence and nearness. "He who abides in Me, and I in Him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." What is the strength and safeguard of voyagers in the midst of the storm? Is it not when the pilot is known to be trustworthy—when they can gaze with confidence on the serene undaunted countenance at the wheel, and the brawny arm steering securely through the roaring surge? If in going out from the peaceful quiet haven of a sacramental hour, perhaps recalling former experiences, I am dreading the power of temptation and my inability to meet it, let me look to my Heavenly Pilot. Abiding in Him, and He abiding in me—a living union with a living God—I am in safe keeping. Heart and flesh may faint and fail; earthly refuges may fail me; earthly refuges may become refuges of lies. But He will be the strength of my heart and my portion forever—the only unfainting, unfailing Friend, in a failing, varying world.

Oh, blessed be God, there is more than one Emmaus journey. I have been privileged to traverse that road today. Though no longer in bodily Presence, as when He trod this earth—though now surrounded with myriads of glorified spirits, and worshiped as Lord of all, the Savior's heart knows no change—His name is "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever." He still loves to make Himself known to His people, as to these disconsolate wayfarers on the way to their village home, "in the breaking of bread."

The thought often occurs, in connection with cherished earthly friends who have fallen asleep in Jesus—and I believe most of all at the hallowed sacramental hour—are these "loved and lost" permitted still to hold communion with those they have left behind on earth? When the mysterious tie is snapped which binds soul to soul in sweet fellowship here, is there no invisible communion prolonged and perpetuated with the sainted and glorified? May we not be allowed to entertain the pleasing idea—that they hover still around us, and watch with tender interest our communings at this Feast of love—the Sacramental Table a Bethel-ladder for the unfettered union of spirit with spirit—"the bridal of the earth and sky?"

Who can tell? This, however, we do know, that what possibly may be a vain illusion with reference to the departed, is a sublime and glorious reality in regard to Jesus. The mysterious Stranger on the way to Emmaus is no Stranger at His own Holy Ordinance. How many can tell as their experience of that hallowed ground—"HE brought me to His Banqueting House, and his banner over me was love!"—or, like the disciples on the great Easter eve, "We have seen the Lord." If such be my retrospect today, I would plead with an ever-deepening, reverential earnestness—'Blessed Jesus! Divine Master of assemblies—Abide with me from morning to evening; and from evening to morning again; for without You I cannot live; and without You, I dare not die!'