We Will Remember Thy Love

Sacramental Meditation XXX
By John Willison, Practical Works (London: Blackie & Son, 1844), 286-7; minimally edited.

“Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember Thy love more than wine: the upright love thee” (Songs of Solomon 1:4).

I go, blessed Jesus, at Thy call, to remember Thy love at Thy holy table; Thy words have an awful sound in my ears, “Do this in remembrance of me.” I see much in them; in obedience to them I will do this in remembrance of Thy dwelling in flesh; in memory of Thy love that carried thee to the manger, to the garden, and to the cross for me; in memory of the infinite price of Thy blood which Thou didst shed; in memory of the victory obtained by it over the enemies of my soul; in memory of the deliverance from wrath, and the immortal glory Thou hast purchased by it for me. Though Thou didst die and lie in the grave, yet Thy love shall ever live in my heart. Glory to thee, Thou art now alive in heaven; Oh come and live with me; never let Thy love be one moment out of my view. I bless thee for this lasting memorial of Thy love.

I look on this sacrament as no real or proper sacrifice, as many do, but only as a representation or commemoration of the real sacrifice Christ offered on the cross. I do no more at the Lord’s table, than what Christ did; since He offered no sacrifice at the table, neither do I. He only did commemorate that sacrifice He was going to offer, and the same, and no more do I. If any should say that Christ offered a real sacrifice, when He instituted this sacrament, then the oblation on the cross would have been superfluous, because sinners would have been redeemed by that of the supper which went before.

Now is the time for a solemn commemoration of Thy love. Oh, shall I be unmindful of Thy love at this feast, when Thou wast so mindful of me, made Thy testament, put me in it, and left me precious legacies to cause me to remember thee; such as, life and light, pardon and peace, righteousness and strength, grace and glory. Oh how heroic, how generous and free, is Thy love to sinful worms! We had done nothing to oblige thee; nothing sawest Thou in us to engage Thy love to us; but much didst Thou see in us to incense thee against us. When we were without strength, ungodly sinners, and enemies, Thou lovedst us, and died for us. “Greater love hath no man than this, to lay down his life for his friends;” but far greater love hath God-man, who laid down His life for His enemies! Oh what shall I think of this love! It had been wonderful love in an angel to have stooped to be united to a lump of earth, and therein suffered for us, though it could not have paid our debt. But, O my soul, here is one more valuable than all the angels in heaven, that has stooped to do it!” The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us!” When I was, like Isaac, bound on the altar, He freely offered Himself to be made a sacrifice to satisfy justice for me; Father, said he, “Lo, I come, to do Thy will I take delight!”

Remember this love, O my soul, the Son of God is become the son of man for thee, that Thou mightest be raised to the dignity of a son of God! He that was infinitely rich, for my sake became poor, that I, a poor naked creature, might become rich and well clothed. How can I look on the incarnation and birth of my Redeemer, and not remember His love with wonder! Can I behold the manger His bed, and not adore the love that brought Him to it? Oh how low were the circumstances of the heir of heaven, when He came to sojourn on earth, who had neither house to live in, nor an estate to live upon, but must be subsisted by the hospitality of others! Amazing prodigy of divine love! God stoops to dwell in the flesh, and gives us His flesh to feed upon in the sacrament! He not only pardons our sins, and saves us from hell, but leaves His throne in heaven, and loses His life on earth, to enthrone us in His kingdom, and make us crowned kings forever. Blessed be the Lord that gives me a communion sabbath to remember this love! What shall I render to thee for it? A day of glad tidings! Thou hast often, on such a day, visited the earth and watered it, and made it rich with Thy showers! May Thy grace and Spirit drop on us this day, like rain on the mown grass.

Lord, I am not worthy to touch the threshold of Thy house, and yet Thou callest me to Thy table! Not worthy to stand among Thy servants, and yet Thou wouldst have me sit with my Redeemer! Not worthy to lie at Thy footstool, and yet Thou wouldst make my heart Thy throne! Not worthy to eat the bread of men, and yet Thou callest me to eat the bread of angels! Oh love worthy to be remembered to all generations! Lord, enlighten my eyes, and give me a clearer view of Thy love, than ever I got; and while I am musing on it, let the fire burn; Oh make my heart burn within me with love to Him that loved us.

Oh my soul, consider the greatness of Christ’s love in the cup He drank for thee! How legible is it in His tears and prayers, His groans and cries, His agony and sweat, His wounds and blood, and all for us? Oh let this matchless love beget in me the warmest love and affection to Him that loved us! Oh let the fire of Christ’s love burn up my lusts and worldly love like stubble; and remove the coldness of my heart to Him! Oh, that I could weep bitterly, that I cannot bring this vile heart of mine to love the Lord Jesus more! Oh, shall I throw away my affections upon every worthless object, and yet have none for the loveliest object of the whole creation of God; and yet one that would needs die for me, to become my ransom and atonement? Is it the character of those who are Christ’s spouse? Is it the character of the whole army of martyrs, and of every believer, to love Christ, and shall not I love Him too? Oh, the virgins love thee, the upright love thee; and every one of them cry, “Oh Thou whom my soul loveth;” and shall not I join these chaste lovers? Or shall I be exposed to the terrible fate of those who want to love Christ? “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let Him be Anathema, Maranatha” (1 Cor 16:22). Oh that I could express my love to Him in adorations and praises, in desiring His presence, loving His members, promoting His kingdom on earth, and longing to be with Him forever. Ω