Christ's Parting Sympathy
I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." Matthew 26:29
There is, to a feeling heart, something inexpressibly tender and touching in the last contact with what is dear and sacred. The last tearful look of home, the last fond glance of love, the last warm grasp of friendship, the last word of counsel and of prayer unlocks a spring of sensibility in the soul until that moment sealed- feelings of which the heart was before unconscious, scarcely suspecting their existence. In that moment of parting, what an oblivion transpires of every painful memory, every resentful feeling, of all that has injured, wounded, and grieved us. One thought, one feeling only occupies the whole soul- it is the thought, the feeling of parting; and in the tenderness and agony of that thought, and of that feeling, all others are absorbed. Nothing now remains in the cell of memory, or engraved upon its tablet, but- how much we loved! "Men seldom appear so human, or in a position so advantageous to their humanity, as when they part. How few friends are there who endure a protracted separation without some abatement of warmth, or meet by appointment, without some precautionary anxieties, or continue together long without some accidental discontents; but none in any degree entitled to the character ever part without much regret! Even the cheerful and social are not always exempt from these momentary perturbations with which selfishness chills the pulse, or controversy overheats. The needle will oscillate a little from the just point of its affection; and though its polarity is never lost, it is seldom steady. Yet even the petulant, the irritable, and the more generous of the resentful, lose all unfriendliness as they pass away from each other- sighing at a conversation which, perhaps, they may have mutually desired. The last shake of the hand is sufficient to dissipate a hundred grievances. There are then no reproaches which we can recall, besides those against ourselves."
And these are pointed and poignant beyond expression! The thought that we should have inflicted a pang on the heart of one from whom we are now severing- and severing, it may be, forever- the memory of harshness and neglect, of unkindness and wrong, received from our hands- oh the bitterness it infuses into that parting! Worlds would we give that it had never been! And yet who would lose the moral discipline of that moment? To have these sharp angularities of our nature smoothed- these rude, rough blemishes effaced- and the nobler, finer features which sin and infirmity had veiled, now exhibited and strengthened, and to realize how truly and deeply we had actually loved, were worth even the extreme grief and anguish of that parting moment!
''Oh, who that from a friend must sever,
For long, long years- perhaps forever-
Would wish to fly without possessing
A parting look, a parting blessing!
Though in that moment is combined
All that can agonize the mind,
Though lips cannot express their woe,
Though tears may then refuse to flow;
Though anguish, not to be expressed,
Nearly overwhelms the throbbing breast!"
Studied in this light, how exquisite the beauty and how instructive the lessons of Christ's farewell to His disciples at the Last Supper! It is true He met them again- met them in Gethsemane, to which place He went from that table, met them on Calvary- yet again when He arose from the grave- and for the last time on Mount Olivet, where, in the act of breathing His final blessing, He was taken up into heaven- yet this was the real farewell- the hour of His parting sympathy. In no subsequent interview was there such a tender, hallowed outflow of His sympathy as now. He was on the eve of His passion; it was the institution of His supper; the expressive memorials of His dying love, in beautiful simplicity, were upon the table; clustering around Him, in touching, clinging union, were His followers; one was reclining on His bosom; alas! another was meditating His betrayal- that was the hour of His parting sympathy! Then it was He uttered the memorable words- "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." A brief meditation upon this sacred occasion and these expressive words will not prove, we trust, an inappropriate or unprofitable close to a volume, the one theme of which is Christ's sympathy with man- Christ's sympathy with His Church.
It was at the institution of this beautiful and solemn festival of the Lord's Supper that the Lord himself, for the first and the last time, presided. The occasion was well calculated to unfold, in its clearest and most winning form, the sympathy of Christ's love for His Church. It was His last feast of love on earth. That assemblage of disciples- a type of the one Church of God- gathered at the feet of their one Redeemer, Lord, and Head, to express, in these symbols of His death, of which all partook, their union with each other- the closer, dearer, union of all with Christ. No institution of Christ has been more mystified, misrepresented, or abused than the Lord's Supper. The infidel has scoffed at it, the world has prostituted it, the sacramentalist has exaggerated it, the unconverted have abused it, an the professing Christian has denied it; and yet it still continues, and will continue, until the twilight shadows of the Church on earth are lost in the noontide splendor of the Church in heaven, a memorial of love, a feast of communion, a symbol of unity, a pledge and first-fruit of the great supper of the Lamb. Before we address ourselves more especially to the relation of the Lord's Supper to the Christian experience of the believer, tracing the tender, close communion into which it brings him with Christ, let us endeavor, briefly, to vindicate the institution from some of those unscriptural and erroneous views with which it is associated in the creed and practice of not a few.
In the first place, THE LORD'S SUPPER is not, as many suppose, a sacrifice, but rather the commemoration of a sacrifice. It is the glory of our divine and holy religion that the one and only sacrifice for sin is- the Lord Jesus Christ, who "gave Himself an offering and a sacrifice to God." And so divine, so perfect, and acceptable was it, we read that, "after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, He sat down on the right hand of God." That one sacrifice of Christ, so completely met all the claims of God's moral government, rendered it so righteous, so glorious, on the part of God, to pardon sin and justify the sinner, that no more was required; and when Christ had offered this one, He ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God: "for by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified." It follows, then, that "there remains no more sacrifice for sins;" and that this one sacrifice wilfully and finally rejected, nothing remains to the rejecter but a "certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." Away, then, with the fearful notion that the Lord's Supper is a sacrifice! In no sense whatever is it so. A sacrifice is to propitiate, to atone, to render an equivalent for sin committed. Does the Lord's Supper do this? Preposterous idea! Oh no! We approach this ordinance as sinners pardoned, as enemies reconciled, as children adopted, as those whose sins and transgressions our Divine Surety bore, and with His atoning blood has forever put away. We come to celebrate the offering of this one finished, glorious, accepted sacrifice of our incarnate God, in faith, gratitude, and love.
Nor is the Lord's Supper a transubstantiated institution, as taught by others. On this ground we seriously object to the expression, "holy mysteries," as applied to the elements. We cannot, perhaps, convey to the general reader, not conversant with the exact meaning of the term, a better idea of the error we seek to refute, than by quoting the authorised Roman statement of the doctrine as propounded by the Council of Trent; it is as follows- "Inasmuch as our Redeemer Christ said, that that which He offered under the species of the bread was really His body, therefore the Church of God has ever been in the persuasion, and it is now again declared by this Holy Synod, that by the consecration of the bread and wine a conversion is made of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood, which conversion has by the Holy Catholic Church been conveniently and properly called transubstantiation." Without going at length into the refutation of this heresy, which the few remaining pages of this volume will not admit, we may remark, in brief but emphatic terms, that this notion is at once repugnant to taste, is opposed to reason, is contradicted by the evidence of sense, and is unauthorized and unsustained by the Word of God. We remark, then, at once, that in a figurative, and not in a literal sense, we are to interpret the words of our Lord, the Originator of this ordinance. When, therefore, Christ said, "This is my body- this is my blood," He spoke the words in the same sense in which Isaiah did when He said, "All flesh is grass."
Did the prophet speak these words in a literal, or in a figurative sense? In a figurative sense undoubtedly. "All flesh is grass,"- that is, as grass- frail, fading, evanescent, cut down, and withered. Thus, then, "This is my body- this is any blood," in other words, "This bread is the figure, the symbol of my body; this cup is the figure, the symbol of no blood." In a figurative, and not a literal sense, then, we are to interpret these words of our Lord. This is strictly in agreement with the general usage of Scripture language. Thus when Christ says, "I am the vine;" "I am the door;" "You are the salt of the earth;" "You are the light of the world;" and a thousand other figurative passages which might be quoted, who ever for a moment imagines that our Lord was transubstantiated into a vine, or into a door, or His people into salt and into light? If, then, we are to take, as undoubtedly we are, the general usage of Scripture language, and our Lord's language in particular, as possessing any value in interpretation, the doctrine of transubstantiation, as tested by it, falls to the ground. But not only is the doctrine of a real, corporeal presence of Christ in the elements opposed by the Word of God, but it is equally contradicted by the evidence of sense, as it is extremely revolting to our best feelings. The bread is bread, and the wine is wine. There is no change in the elements. They are simply bread and wine, and nothing more, our senses confirming the fact. But the doctrine we are confuting is not only contradicted by our senses, but is extremely revolting to our feelings. It is three times affirmed in the Bible of our Lord, that He was incapable of corruption. "You shall not allow your Holy One to see corruption." If the doctrine of the real, corporeal presence of Christ in the elements of the Lord's Supper be true, then this scripture is false! Which? But the Scripture cannot be broken. Let God be true, and every man who would impeach His veracity or contravene His word a liar. But a yet graver objection is alleged against the doctrine of transubstantiation. It identifies Christianity with one of the grossest forms of heathenism. Those who hold the idea of a literal and actual presence, cannot escape the sin, the terrible sin, of idolatry. They worship the bread and the wine, and are involved in one of the most God-dishonoring crimes to which the soul of man can be brought into subjection. It is impossible for the transubstantiationist to escape this logical conclusion- he is emphatically an idolater. To ascribe Divine homage, adoration, and worship to the simple, material elements of the Lord's Supper, as we must do if we believe that they have been converted into the real body, and blood, and divinity of Christ, is to violate the second great law of the Divine decalogue, and to be involved, if unrepented of, in its in evitable and fearful punishment.
How true and graphic of such is the description of the prophet, "And after his care, he uses part of the wood to make a fire to warm himself and bake his bread. Then—yes, it's true—he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god for people to worship! He makes an idol and bows down and praises it!" Isaiah 44:15. And what is the final doom of all idolaters, be they those of heathendom or of Christendom? The Word of God alone reveals it: "idolaters, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death." But believers in Jesus, who approach the Lord's table in faith and love, enjoy the real presence, which is the spiritual, believing, realized presence of the Lord Himself. And a more blessed and honored manifestation of the Lord in the ordinance is this, inasmuch as faith, in its present realization of Jesus, is transcendently more glorious than sight. "Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed." Oh, approach that table, beloved, with an earnest desire, and with the full expectation of the realized presence of the Lord! Go, seeking and seeing Jesus only. It is with Him alone you have to do in this solemn feast. Jesus is its original, its substance, and its sweetness. Apart from a believing apprehension of Him, it is but an unmeaning symbol, a cold ceremonial, a lifeless picture- cold, shadowy, and unblest.
Equally unscriptural and erroneous is the idea that the Lord's Supper is a converting and saving institution. Neither of the two divinely appointed rites of Baptism or the Lord's Supper were intended by Christ to accomplish this end; to interpret and employ them as such is to pervert their design, and to press them into the service of fostering a spurious and fatal hope. The Lord's Supper is a shadow, and not a substance; a sign, a symbol, a figure, an exponent of the most glorious Being and of the most august event in the universe. Beyond this, the elements possess no spiritual, quickening, gracious influences.; and no act of the administrator, be he the most holy, spiritual being on earth, can possibly impart to them a miraculous change or a sacramental virtue. Real conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit alone; and He who is not born of the Spirit, and made a possessor of divine life, may partake of the Lord's Supper every day of the week, and at last perish in his unregeneracy and sins! Away, then, with the false and fatal idea that your observance of the Lord's Supper conveys to your soul one particle of grace, of holiness, or spiritual life. You may partake of it in health- in sickness- and in the hour of death, but it will serve you nothing, but as a seal of your greater condemnation, if you are not born again of the Spirit, apart from which neither foods nor drinks, circumcision nor uncircumcision, will avail you anything at the judgment-seat of Christ. But let your simple faith embrace the one glorious sacrifice of our divine and gracious Redeemer, of whom this ordinance is the expressive and sacred memorial, the lowly, life-like portrait, and you shall be saved.
It is a strictly logical and solemn inference from this, that none but true believers in the Lord Jesus either are authorised or are qualified to partake of the Lord's Supper. It was originated by Christ for His Church, and not for the world. And who are His Church? All, and none but those, who are born of the Holy Spirit, who possess a saving faith in Christ, and are living godly, righteously, and soberly, in this present evil world. These compose the one family of God, this banquet is the family feast, this the children's bread, of which none have a right to partake but true members of the family. The paschal lamb was commanded not to be eaten until the posts of the house were sprinkled with the blood of it. How significant! We must come in faith to the blood of sprinkling, before we eat the flesh of the Lamb of God spiritually and in faith, as set forth in this ordinance. The individual who partakes of it without the application of atoning blood, the washing, the cleansing from sin and guilt through the atonement of Jesus, comes under the charge of "eating and drinking unworthily," and occupies a position of fearful peril! The Lord's Supper is a seal. But a seal implies a covenant made, a promise given and accepted. Jehovah has made a covenant of salvation through the Lord Jesus on behalf of His Church. In that covenant He has promised pardon, adoption, acceptance, and heaven to all who truly and heartily believe in Christ. By faith we take hold of His covenant, and accept the promise. In the Lord's Supper, God seals this covenant of redemption to us, and we set our seal to the covenant. The promise of salvation, therefore, being only to those who truly repent and believe, the Lord's Supper becomes a seal of condemnation, and not of salvation, to all who partake of it in an unconverted, unbelieving, unsaved state. The language of the apostle is solemn and decided: "So if anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily, that person is guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking from the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup unworthily, not honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God's judgment upon yourself." 1 Cor. 11:27-29. Let no timid, doubting believer in Jesus be discouraged by these words from approaching the Lord's table, and let none who in truth acid sincerity love the Savior, be deterred by them from making a profession of Christianity.
We must, in their interpretation, bear in mind the distinction and the difference between the words unworthy and unworthily. The grammatical construction of the passage would seem to indicate this. The one word is an adjective, and refers to personal qualification; the other is an adverb, and refers to the manner in which the ordinance is observed. With regard to our personal worthiness to partake of the Lord's Supper, we possess none but what we have in and through the grace of Christ implanted in us by the Spirit, and the merits of Christ imputed to us through faith. This is our only personal qualification. We partake of this ordinance unworthily when we come to it without this renewing grace implanted in, and this justifying righteousness imputed to, us by the Lord Jesus. But let no individual suppose that because He may have partaken of the Lord's Supper unworthily, either through ignorance or wilfully, that, therefore, He has committed an unpardonable sin. Oh no! "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin,"- and this one among them. No contrite soul deploring in true penitence his unworthy partaking of Christ's Supper, and coming to the atonement of Christ, shall be excluded from the Divine forgiveness. The blood that the soldier shed pardoned the sin of shedding it. The Lord's Supper, of which we may unworthily have partaken, is the symbol of His foriving love, and His cleansing blood, whose ordinance we thus have dishonored.
But while, for the honor of our Lord Jesus, we have thought it right to vindicate His institution, and to guard the reader against erroneous views respecting it, it will be a more pleasant duty to devote the few remaining pages of this work to two or three views of the Lord's Supper, tending to simplify and endear it to the hearts of those who truly love Jesus.
And let us first remind you that it is a feast of hallowed and solemn memory. With this view, among others, our blessed Lord instituted it. He would have His saints kept in memory of Himself. How simple and emphatic His words, "Do this in remembrance of me!" And oh, how solemn and precious the memories clustering around this table! Our thoughts are wafted back to the hour of His agony and bloody sweat, His cross and passion, when, bearing our sins, He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and was slain for us. There are some events in human life that are never effaced from its annals. Among the most solemn and precious are the death memories of loved ones. Whatever other events transpire, this one stands alone in its own solemn, hallowed impressiveness; and we find it sanctifying and salutary often to remember the day and the circumstances that tore that fond one from our eyes. Transcendently more solemn and sanctifying than all is the memory of our Lord's death. To this end He left this memorial. And not of His death alone, but of the love that constrained Him to die, is it the sacred and lasting remembrance. It is a memorial of dying love- love that could not, and that would not, do less than die for the object of its affections. Therefore may we regard it as the chief one of the Agape, or love-feasts, of the Christian Church- a festival peculiar to the primitive Christians, and which conduced much to the early promotion of Christianity by the cultivation of mutual affection and sympathy, and which awoke the observation of heathen strangers- "See how these Christians love one another!" How kind, and sacred, and considerate of Jesus to bequeath to us this memento of love, knowing how often and how long the should allow other beings and objects to thrust Him from our thoughts! But the return of this season of communion recalls Him to our mind. Just as when we unclasp a casket, and gaze upon the image of an absent one, and there rushes back upon memory the loved features, the familiar tones, the cherished acts of kindness, so the Supper of our Lord- this fond and faithful remembrancer of one so dear- keeps us in tender, hallowed memory of Him whom our souls love until He comes again. Lord, we will remember Your love; Your love is better than wine. Saints of God, beware, then, how you wilfully neglect this ordinance, seeing it is to keep you in vivid, grateful remembrance of Jesus. To neglect is to despise it, and to despise it is to turn the back upon Him who should be entwined with our every affection, and blended with our every thought.
The Lord's Supper is also a feast of present enjoyment. Our Lord spread this table in love to a Church yet in the wilderness. In that wilderness, a dry and thirsty land, she would often be weary and faint. The toilsome march, the perils without, the fears within, the soul's hunger and thirst, would all conspire to render the table in this wilderness a banquet exceedingly welcome and refreshing to the saints. He who, when on earth, had compassion on the multitude who followed Him into the desert, and would not dismiss them fasting, lest they should faint by the way, was not likely to leave His Church in the world unfurnished with spiritual supplies. In addition to the rich provision of the gospel, He has instituted this feast of remembrance and of love, which, like perpetually descending manna, forms a continuous source of nourishment in the wilderness. The chief and the highest enjoyment flowing from the observance of the Lord's Supper is, the Lord's presence at the table. There is ever, on this hallowed occasion, an especial and peculiar manifestation of Christ to His saints, such as is vouchsafed and experienced nowhere else. The testimony of the Church is the same in all ages- "While the King sits at His table, my spikenard sends forth the smell thereof." It is emphatically His table, a banquet of His own originating and of His own furnishing. He provided the meal, and He Himself is there to sanction it, to welcome and bless the guests. And, oh, is not this the highest enjoyment on earth- the manifested, realized, and precious presence of Christ? There is none other like it. What were heaven itself without it, but a Christless and a joyless heaven? What is earth with it? It is the uplifting of this planet of sin and of woe, as it were, into the meridian and region of heaven. While the King, arrayed in beauty, overflowing with benignity and love, sits at His table, it is as though heaven in its glory had come down to earth, or that earth in its woe were upraised to heaven- so divine, holy, and precious is the communion. No marvel that our spiritual graces put forth their power and their fragrance. It is the Sun of Righteousness warming into life and beauty, fertility and perfume, the holy and costly work of the Spirit in the soul. Our religion only becomes vitalized, vigorous, and fertile, as it closely deals with Christ. He is the source of our holiness, as He is the spring of our happiness and the anticipation of our glory. The beams of His grace and love flowing in upon the conservatory of the Spirit, the fruit and flower of the Holy Spirit appear, to the glory and praise of the heavenly Husbandman. "Their soul shall be as a well-watered garden," is the Divine promise that crowns obedience to the Divine precept with its diadem of holy fruit. Approach, then, the Table of the Lord with the full expectation of meeting Jesus. Rise above the sign and the symbol to Him of whom it testifies, and do not leave that Table until you have realized the presence, caught a glimpse, of the beauty, and heard the voice of Him whom your soul loves.
Another present enjoyment at the Lord's Supper, of which we should avail ourselves, is the especial opportunity it affords for the presentation of particular requests in prayer. The soul is in close, confidential audience with Jesus. "What is your petition? and what is your request?" is the gracious, assuring language of the benignant glance He now bends upon each believer. Hasten, then, to pour every petition into His ear, every sorrow into His bosom. Jesus expects it. He waits to be gracious. He asks no preparation for your approach other than your felt need, and the longing of your heart for Him. And whether you come to confess your sins beneath His cross, or to rain upon His feet tears of love, or, while reclining upon His bosom, to bury in its deep sympathy your sorrows, cares, and needs, His gracious, loving heart bids you welcome. Oh, the solemn stillness, the sacred meditation, the precious communion, the confidential transaction of that moment when Jesus and the believer meet together at the Supper!
It is a feast, too, of joyous anticipation. Our Lord has closely blended the past, the present, and the future of the Church in this Festival. These are the words which point to the coming glory- "You do show the Lord's death until He comes." The Second Advent, the glorious appearing of Christ, is interwoven with this memorial of humiliation, suffering, and death. The Cross and the Crown are strangely yet beautifully entwined together in this expressive institution. The dark shadow of the one, and the bright effulgence of the other, meet and mingle here. What play for the trio graces of the Spirit! Faith looks back to the sacrifice of Calvary- Love dissolves with holy affection to a present Christ- and Hope, with uplifted, unwearied wing, soars onward to the glorious future. Thus are we to eat the Lord's Passover, all sandaled and prepared for our heavenly march. This world is not our rest, for here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come, having Christ in us, the hope of glory. Thus, then, let us never merge the crown in the cross, nor the cross in the crown; but in all service and suffering, in duty and in trial, ever keep in view the truth, that if we now bear the cross, we shall then wear the crown- if we suffer with Him here, we shall reign with Him hereafter. Oh, delightful, when we cluster around this sacred feast, to feel that it links us with the coming glory of Christ- with the sorrowless, tearless, sinless, triumphant state of the spirits of just men made perfect, the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven- and what will be ours when we shall relinquish the Supper of the Lamb on earth, for the marriage Supper of the Lamb in heaven. Then there will be no more ordinances! The symbol will merge into the reality, the shadow will melt into the substance, the river will be lost in the ocean, and the stars, which heralded His coming, and often led us to His feet, will vanish before the light and splendor of the meridian Sun. We shall be with Jesus then, and with Him drink the new wine of the kingdom; our holiness will be perfect, our happiness will be complete, and God in Christ will be our all in all.
"I love the windows of Your grace,
Through which my Lord is seen,
And long to meet my Savior's face,
Without a glass between.
"Oh, that the happy hour were come,
To change my faith to sight!
I shall behold my Lord at home,
In a diviner light.
"Haste, my Beloved, and remove
These interposing days;
Then shall my passions all be love,
And all my powers be praise."
There is one view of the Lord's Supper which should render it inexpressibly dear to our hearts. It is this, that it is not the table of a church, of a sect, of a party, but, emphatically, the Lord's Table, and, as such, belongs alike to the whole Church of Christ; and no priest or ecclesiastical body has an especial and exclusive right either to bless and administer its elements, or to appropriate and monopolize its communion. We approach this table, not to exhibit a badge, or to utter a shibboleth, or to assert a system, but to show forth the Lord's death, in the goodly fellowship of apostles and prophets, of the noble army of martyrs, and the communion of all saints, until He come. And if there be one spot more appropriate and precious than all others from where the prayer for Christian love and unity should ascend, surely it is this- and from this hallowed spot let it ever fervently and believingly be breathed!
"O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace, give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord, that, as there is but one body, and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may henceforth be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify You, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." (Book of Common Prayer)
How sacred, soothing, and precious, then, is the parting sympathy of Christ! It flows in silver streams around our path even to the last and latest of life. Having loved us in the world, He loves us to the end. His tender sympathy is with us when we part from places, from privileges, from friends, yes, from life itself. He knows this peculiar sorrow; and, as if to meet and soothe it, He instituted this sacred and expressive ordinance, blending its past history with a present holy joy, and a future glorious hope. Oh, do you think that when the last, the final, the parting hour comes that severs you from the home you have loved, from the being to whom so fondly, so inseparably you have clung, or from your life, now ebbing fast away- the deathless soul pluming her wing and poised for her awful, mysterious fliglit- do you think that Jesus will not be there to clasp you in the arms of a sympathy that shall solace that grief, sustain that hour, and enable you to say "farewell" without a sigh, and meet death with out a quiver? Oh, yes! Jesus will be there; for He has promised, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end."
"Thus, when I read the holy page,
The guide of youth and staff of age,
I need a Teacher ever near,
To make the sacred message clear.
At Jesus' feet I sincerely would sit,
And ask Him to interpret it;
Then shall the Word a lamp become,
To light the pathway to my home.
"Jesus, I need You all my life,
Through childhood's glee and manhood's strife,
In cloud or sunshine, joy or woe,
In wealth and power, or station low.
What other name such power to cheer;
What other voice so charms the ear;
What hand so gently leads as Thine;
Whose heart so ready answers mine?
I need You ever by my side,
Supply this need, whatever betide.
"Thus when I read the holy page,
The guide of youth and staff of age;
I need a Teacher ever near;
To make the sacred message clear.
At Jesus' feet I sincerely would sit,
And ask Him to interpret it;
Then shall the Word a lamp become,
To light the pathway to my home.
"When fevered pulse and throbbing brain
Seem to proclaim earth's healing vain,
I need the great Physician near,
To bid diseases disappear.
Once more my Savior comes to me,
The wondrous Man of Galilee;
Then healthfully life's currents roll,
He speaks the word, and makes me whole.
"This changing world I cannot trust,
I need a friendship true and just;
One friend alone can hope impart
The 'Friend of sinners' claims my heart,
Closer than any brother He
Accompanies and comforts me
His love unchanging, strong, and pure-
The only friendship to endure!
"I am defenseless, weak, alone,
Cast down by foes, and overthrown;
I need a valiant arm- a shield,
While struggling on life's battle-field.
Then Jesus comes, a mighty King!
And now to arms I gladly spring;
His banner, o'er me in the fray,
Still leads me on a conquering way.
"I need my Savior, when I mourn
Over fleeting wealth or funeral urn;
When disappointments chill my soul,
And troublous billows angry roll,
With bleeding heart to Him I fly,
And once more find a helper nigh-
With words of love, in accents sweet,
He cheers me at the mercy-seat.
"I need my Savior when I die-
Then most of all I wish Him nigh,
To bid me doubt and fear no more,
And bring me to the 'shining shore.'
There shall my needs be all supplied,
With harp and crown, at Jesus' side;
And ever more my rapture be,
That Jesus needed even me!"