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authoritatively enjoined ; that, being faithful in their respective stations and callings, God may be glorified by all." Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; inasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." "As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."†
All this, communicant, and much more than has been stated, you have engaged to do when you surrounded the Redeemer's table, and ratified your covenant with the God of our salvation. You have taken the sacramentum, the oath of fidelity, and sworn to keep the righteous judgments of the Lord.
But a painful reflection presents itself to the mind. These solemn engagements, entered into over the broken body and shed blood of the Saviour, we have too much reason to believe, are but seldom felt and fulfilled, with that interest and fidelity, which their serious and important nature so loudly demand. By too many, they are soon forgotten, and sadly violated. Yes; it is a lamentable fact, that not a few, whom we see at our solemn feasts,"
give just cause for the reproof administered to unfaithful Ephraim and Judah: "Your goodness is as the morning cloud, and as the early dew, it goeth away." What! to-day in the sanctuary, and at the communion table; and to-morrow immersed in the world, filled with its cares, yielding to its tempta*1 Cor. xv. 58. +1 Pet. i. 15, 16. Hosea vi. 4
tions, and practising its sins? What! to-day at the table of the Redeemer; and to-morrow guilty of betraying him into the hands of his enemies? What! to-day with his people on the Mount, where they taste the sweets of his communion; and tomorrow pursuing a course of conduct, which declares to all around that you "know not the Man ??? What dishonesty! What perfidy!
O! communicant, lay to heart the aggravated character of the sin of "lightly esteeming," and wantonly violating the covenant of our God! Call to mind the ingratitude, and the perjury, which marks the character of the faithless professor !
Neither is this a sin of such rare occurrence, as we might be induced to suppose, from a consideration of its heinous and aggravated nature. "They, like men, have transgressed the covenant: There have they dealt treacherously against me,"* is a charge which Jehovah may justly prefer against many individuals, and even churches, in our day. Unfaithfulness to God's covenant is a crying sin in the church of Christ; and in token of her humiliation on this account, Zion may well gird herself with sackcloth, and sit in ashes. "Surely, as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord."+
Suffer me, then, in the subsequent part of this paper, to suggest a few considerations, and directions for the conscientious fulfilment of the solemn Jer. iii. 20.
*Hos. vi. 7
engagements, into which you have entered at the Redeemer's table. And
1. I urge you to be faithful to your sacramental engagements, by a regard for the glory of God, to which you profess to be supremely devoted. The God, whom all intelligent creatures are bound to honour-and whom you have, at the communion table, claimed as your redeeming God-has taught us in his word, that he is glorified by the consistent and holy practice of his professed friends. "Herein," said our Saviour,*" is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples."
The faithless, immoral professor, who from day to day violates the oath of fidelity, which he took at the Redeemer's table, disgraces his profession; and not only dishonours God himself, but tempts others to blaspheme his holy name! But the sincere Christian, who is stedfast in the covenant, and who exemplifies the power of divine grace in a life of holy obedience, honours both his profession and his God: "Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God." "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed, by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what
* Jo. xv. 8.
† Phil. j. 11.
is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."*
2. I urge you to be faithful in your profession, from a regard for the cause of Christ, and the prosperity of his church. Religion, it is true, ought not to be identified with its professors; nor subjected to the reproach and neglect of men, on account of the inconsistent conduct of such as lay claim to it. But we must be contented to take men and things as we find them. And the assertion is not to be controverted, that unfaithfulness and immorality, on the part of professors, will ever have the effect to prejudice men against the cause of Jesus Christ. The deepest wounds, inflicted on religion, are those with which she is wounded in the house of her friends! O! when shall the offence of the cross cease!when shall this reproach of the church be wiped away!-when shall the consistent practice of professors make a true exhibition of our holy religion, and allure others to the obedience of faith!
O! If you love the cause of Christ, and long for its success, I besesch you, let your conduct be as becometh the gospel of Christ-"For so is the will of God, that, with well doing, ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men."+ "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
3. I urge you to be faithful to your covenant engagements, by a regard for consistency of character.
*Rom. xii. 1, 2.
+1 Pet. ii. 15.
Mat. v. 16.
A vacillating, undetermined man, is a pitiable, if not a contemptible character. What then shall we say of the professor of religion, who is all his lifetime vibrating between Christ and the world-between duty and sin? Whose engagements appear to be made only to be broken; and whose appearance at the Redeemer's table to-day, furnishes no security that he will not be found in the camp of his enemies to-morrow? He is worse than contemptible! He deserves the censures of the church, and the reprobation of heaven!
I beseech you, be consistent: Manifest a becoming decision of character. Abandon the cause of Christ altogether, or show that you are sincere and cordial in his service?-either renounce the profession of religion altogether, or else make it your business to "adorn the doctrine of God, our Saviour, in all things?" "How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, then follow him! but if Baal, then follow him."*
4. I exhort you to be faithful to your covenant engagements, from a regard for your own comfort and happiness. Our salvation depends on an interest in Christ: Our interest in Christ depends on our faith; and the character of our faith depends on our works. It is a judicious remark, "faith justifies the sinner, but works justify faith!" The unfaithful, ungodly professor, trampling under foot the covenant he has sealed, can have no evidence of a gracious state; and he but adds presumption to sin,
*1 Kings, xvii. 21.