I might go on to mention a still more solemn subject, viz. the experience which, at least, certain religious persons have, of the awful sacredness of our Sacraments and other Ordinances. If these are attended by the Presence of Christ, surely we have all that a Church can have in the way of privilege and blessing. The promise runs, "Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." That is a Church where Christ is present; this is the very definition of the Church. The question sometimes asked is, whether our services, our holy seasons, our rites, our Sacraments, our institutions, really have with them the Presence of Him who thus promised? If so, we are part of the Church; if not, then we are but performers in a sort of scene or pageant, which may be religiously intended, and which God in His mercy may visit, but if He visits, will in visiting go beyond His own promise. But observe, as if to answer to the challenge, and put herself on trial, and to give us a test of her Catholicity, our Church boldly declares of her most solemn ordinance, that he who profanes it, incurs the danger of judgment. She seems, like Moses, or the Prophet from Judah, or Elijah, to put her claim to issue, not so openly, yet as really, upon the fulfilment of a certain specified sign. Now she does not speak to scare away the timid, but to startle and subdue the unbelieving, and withal to assure the wavering and perplexed; and I conceive that in such measure as God wills, and as is known to God, these effects follow. I mean, that we really have proofs among us, though, for the most part, they will be private and personal, from the nature of the case, of clear punishment coming upon profanations of the holy ordinance in question; sometimes very fearful instances, and such as serve, while they awe beholders, to comfort them;—to comfort them, for it is plain, if God be with us for judgment, surely He is with us for mercy also: if He punishes, why is it but for profanation? and how can there be profanation, if there is nothing to be profaned? Surely, He does not manifest His wrath, but where He has first vouchsafed His grace.

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