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An After-communion Sermon

An After-communion Sermon

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Published by glennpease
"Also they saw God, and did eat and drink."

EXOD. xxiv. ii.
"Also they saw God, and did eat and drink."

EXOD. xxiv. ii.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 04, 2014
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06/04/2014

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A AFTER-COMMUIO SERMO "Also they saw God, and did eat and drink." EXOD. xxiv. ii. A VERY few words will recall the scene of which these words form a part. In a great plain facing a high mountain the children of Israel were gathered together. From that mountain, shortly before, the Law had been declared, and the thunders and lightnings, and the thick cloud round the mountain s top had witnessed to the people the might and majesty of Him who declared it. But now these dread accompaniments of God s presence were wanting, and it would be no longer with the same anxious fear that the people watched the movements of their great leader Moses. Right below the mountain he built an altar to God composed of twelve pillars to represent the twelve tribes, and, after sacrifices had been offered, he sprinkled half the blood upon the altar in token of the promised for giveness. Then, taking the book of the covenant, 185 1 86 RELIGIO I DAILY LIFE he read it in the audience of all the people, and summoned them to the service which God required. or did they hesitate. With hearts stirred by thankfulness, as they remembered the deliverance that had been accomplished for them, they answered as with one voice : " All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient." And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, thus sealing to them the new engagement on which they had entered, as well as assuring them of God s aid in its fulfilment ;
 
and then, in the presence of all the people, along with Aaron and adab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, the great leader once more ascended the mountain to God. " And they saw the God of Israel." What exactly was the nature of the vision we do not know ; even Moses cannot tell us. All he can say is that under God s feet was " as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness, 1 something very different, at any rate, from the awful grandeur which before had terrified them, and which, while betokening the utmost purity and holiness, spoke also of love, and peace, and joy. For, though Moses and his companions were now in the immediate presence of God Himself, " He laid not His hand upon them," but invited them rather to a solemn grateful feast in memory of the great things He had done. " Also they saw God, and did eat and drink." The two RELIGIO I DAILY LIFE 187 things went together the vision and the feasting. It was because of the new revelation that had just been granted that at such a time and in such a place they could venture to feast. It was while they feasted that the full meaning of the heavenly vision was borne in upon their hearts. But while this is the immediate reference of the words, you will easily understand that they are capable of a much more general application. "They saw God." May we not there find a description of our lives in what we may call their religious, upward aspect, the aspect which unites them with things unseen and eternal? " And they did eat and drink." What is that but
 
a summary of our daily life, the life which connects us with this world, and which as human beings we are called upon to lead? And the great truth which, as I have just hinted, our text teaches us regarding these two apparently so different lives is, that they are not to be kept apart, but that the one is to influence and direct the other. The vision of God is to hallow even the eating and drinking; the eating and drinking, and all that they involve, are to be but the carrying out of that which the vision has revealed. o one can say that the lesson is unneeded. For when we think of it, has there not been a constant tendency to separate these two spheres of life, or, i88 RELIGIO I DAILY LIFE at any rate, to exalt the one at the expense of the other ? Thus there have always been those and in the early ages of the Church they formed a distinct class who, while they have seen God, have been unable to eat and drink, have thought it necessary, that is, for a true vision of the Divine, to withdraw wholly from the world, and devote themselves to lives of uninterrupted contemplation and prayer. There have been those again who have eaten and drunk, and not seen God. The present has been enough for them. Things seen and temporal have been their sole concern. If they have not gone the length of Esau in deliberately bartering their birth right for a mess of pottage (Gen. xxv. 34), they have, at least, acted like the men in the parable who, when their Lord s invitation came to them, " made

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