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for the duty." The proud, self-righteous Pharisee, has no right at the communion table; but the humble Publican, whose heart is broken for sin, and from sin, may come, and welcome. The promise to Zion is "I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread."* And many of the sons and daughters of Zion can join in the song of Mary: "He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away."+

4. The fourth qualification we mention is love. The natural heart is full of enmity; and before we can come to the feast of love acceptably, the enmity of the carnal mind must have been destroyed, and the love of God and man shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost.

The death of the Lord Jesus was the most astonishing exhibition of love, that either earth or heaven ever witnessed; and the constraining influence of a Saviour's love must be felt in the commemoration of a Saviour's death.

"Love is the fulfilling of the law." The first table requires us to love God supremely. This is perfectly reasonable. God is the most excellent of all beings! and his uncreated perfections justly entitle him to the supreme love-the most profound reverence-the most exalted adoration-the most unshaken confidence and the best services of all intelligent creatures. But the Apostle John|| remarks, "we love him, because he first loved us !"

*Ps. cxxxii. 15.
Mat. xxii. 39.

+ Luke i. 58.

Rom. viii. 7%

#1 Epist. iv. 19,

A lively conviction of his relative goodness, as well as of his absolute perfection, must win the heart. This God, who is the Creator and Preserver of all, is by covenant the believer's God forever and ever : His Father, his Redeemer, and his Sanctifier. The object of his supreme affection, in whose government he rejoices-in whose salvation he glories-to whose honour he is devoted : "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth : but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."* "He is the chiefest among ten thou

sand; yea, he is altogether lovely."+

With the love of God, the love of man is connected; and the second table of the moral law requires us" to love our neighbour as ourselves." The love of benevolence is to be exercised to all, even the most worthless and unfriendly. We are to be prompt to forgive them-to assist them-and to pray for them. The command of the Saviour is "Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you!"

But the saints are the excellent ones of the earth, in whom is the believer's delight. These he loves with a love of complacency: He discovers in them the image of his Saviour: He meets them at the communion table, as members of the same family; and in the love he bears them, he finds evidence *Ps. lxxii. 25, 26. Mat. xxii. 39.

Cant. v. 10, 16.
Mat. v. 44.

that he is born of God,* and has a right to the table of the Lord.

5. The fifth and last qualification we shall mention, is a sincere and ardent desire to meet the Saviour at his table; and to be refreshed by his grace, for all the purposes of new and holy obedience. The true communicant is far from being satisfied with his present attainments in the divine life: his desire is to grow in grace and in knowledge; and, by holy resemblances, to put on the Lord Jesus Christ from day to day. Conscious of his weakness, and of his numerous deficiencies in duty, he is ardently desirous to meet his Saviour at the board, that he may there renew his strength, and receive out of the fulness treasured up in Christ, and grace for grace! With fixed determination to walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessto esteem all God's precepts concerning all things to be right—and to hate every false way-he approaches the table of the Lord. "I will wash mine hands in innocency, so will I compass thine altar, O Lord!" "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."

These are the qualifications which Scripture insists on, as necessary to constitute us worthy partakers of this heavenly neat and drink; and are: thus stated in the Westminster Shorter Catechism : "It is required of them that would worthily partake of the Lord's supper, that they examine themselves

* Jo. iv. 7.

f Mat. v. 6

+ Ps. xxvi. 6.
Quest. 97.

of their knowledge to discern the Lord's body-of their faith to feed upon him-of their repentance, love, and new obedience; lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves."

All who are possessed of these qualifications, are to consider it their sacred duty, and their exalted privilege, to confess Christ before men, and to hold communion with him and his people, over the memorials of his body and blood. For this purpose they are to present the evidence of their qualifications, to the officers of such church, as shall to them appear most conformable in doctrine and government to the word of God. In this country every one is left at full liberty to make choice of his own church; and no serious and candid man would wish to belong to a church, the doctrines and discipline of which he cannot approve. In such a church he never could feel at home, nor worship God with a contented mind.

The reception of members, in full communion, is a duty of the highest moment, and intimately connected with the peace and prosperity of the church. Every church has a right to fix her own terms of communion; and the standards which she has adopted must necessarily form a part of those terms of communion. No church can have a rational prospect of peace and prosperity, in which an attempt is made to herd together men of conflicting sentiments on the great truths of revelation! In such a church, instead of the communion of the saints, discord must prevail. "How can two walk together, except

they be agreed?" And the officers of a church are exceedingly wanting in faithfulness to themselves and the church, if they admit to their communion any who do not cordially subscribe to their established standards.

The standards of our church, as has been repeatedly stated, are the Belgic confession of faith-the Heidelbergh Catechism-and the canons of the Synod of Dort; and whatever imposing appearances of piety might be exhibited by the person making application for a seat at the Redeemer's table, ignorance of, or opposition to the doctrines expressed in the standards, ought ever to be viewed as an insuperable objection to his admission. The officers of Christ's church are, in their court capacity, bound to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, as much as individual believers can possibly be. If our standards speak truth, we are unfaithful to the truth, if we admit to our communion persons who oppose these standards: They have no business among us: Let them go where they can enjoy their sentiments, without disturbing the peace of the church.

We would, therefore, honestly contend, that, in addition to hopeful appearances of piety, no one can be admitted as a communicant in our church, who does not understand, and profess to believe the doctrines of grace, as taught in our standards. If a man, who is an heretic, ought, after a first and second admonition, to be rejected-such an one, certainly, ought not to be admitted.

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