Sermons on the Holy Communion by Robert Isaac Wilberforce

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Robert Isaac Wilberforce
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Sermons on the Holy Communion

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Book review

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1854 edition. Excerpt: ... 180 SERMON XIII. THE CHRISTIAN SACRIFICE. Romans xii. 1. "/ beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." The Apostle's object is to contrast the living service of Christian piety, with the slaughtered victims which were presented upon Jewish altars. His words remind us how pure should be the gift, and how careful the preparation. For this the ancient Law had made exact provision: "your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year." "It shall be perfect to be accepted, there shall be no blemish therein." And the point was guarded, as we might expect, by the rigorous punctuality of Jewish usage. Their writers enumerate fifty particulars, which might derogate from the perfection of the victim, and, therefore, from the efficacy of the service. But we have a sufficient, though simpler rule, in the Epistle to the Hebrews: "Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." The last condition is attainable enough, so far as refers to the mere purification of the body, though no doubt there is an allusion to that mysterious gift, which is bestowed upon the soul through the waters of Baptism. For the body at all events may be washed from such pollutions as defile and deform it. But is it so easy to purify the soul? Is the conscience so readily cleansed from its defilements? Even if men are happy enough not to be burthened by those deadly sins, which cut them off from grace--even if they do not need, therefore, such special forgiveness as the Church is authorized to convey--yet who is there who can affirm his...

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