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An Invitation to the Communion.

ation of the temper necessary for the profitable partaking of the Lord's Supper. And here I intend to shew you,

I. The great danger of neglecting this ordi

nance.

II. The great guilt of coming to it unworthily.

I. The great danger of neglecting this ordi

And this will appear,

nance,

1. If we consider it as the breach of the express commandment of Jesus Christ. It was among his last words, the night before he was betrayed, that his disciples should do this in remembrance of him. The words of a friend are always dear, but his dying words especially apt to dwell upon the mind : and to neglect his last commands would be then a sure mark of having no friendship for him. Now this is evidently the case with those who wait not upon the Lord at his table, to remember his death till he come. They confess that they have no friendship for him, by their disobedience to the things which he hath commanded them. They live in the allowed neglect of a positive precept, and thereby bring down upon themselves the reward of transgressors, who have despised his counsels. And that you may see this is no small offence, I wish you to observe the heavy wrath of God denounced against those who neglected to celebrate the Passover (to which our Communion answers, representing to us a deliverance from sin and hell, infinitely greater than that from Egyptian bond

An Invitation to the Communion.

age), that soul was to be cut off from his people. Now if they who despised Moses's law, died without mercy, of how much sorer punishment suppose ye shall we be thought worthy, if we neglect so great salvation ? Careless sinners, who turn their backs on the Lord's table, think little of the guilt this adds to their state, and how severely every such neglected opportunity will be answered for, when this Jesus shall coine to execute judgment on all the despisers of his name and ordinances, who will then wonder, and perish.

2. The great danger of neglect is evident, in that by so doing, we must continue dead in trespasses and sins. Except, says Christ himself, ye' eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. Now though this primarily refers to the reception of the Gospel, and doth not exclude those from eternal life, who, having received the Gospel, are waiting upon God, with a purpose of heart of devoting their souls to him in this solemn ordinance ; it evidently excludes all those, who have neither received Christ into their hearts by faith, nor desire to be partakers of the seals of his covenant. It is not possible for such to have any spiritual life in them; they are dead in trespasses and sins; and they declare bereby their abiding indisposition for, and disinclination to, all the exercises of a spiritual life. The soul whom Christ hath quickened, delights to be maintaining daily communion with him, to wait in his house and at his table, whenever he hath opportu

An Invitation to the Communion.

nity; but

you have no such desires, no such disposition, because you have chosen death rather than life, and are daily pursuing the course, the end of which must be everlasting destruction. Ask yourself this plain question, Why do I not come to the Communion ? And what can you answer, but that I am living in the pursuit of iniquities, and the pleasures of sin, which I have no inclination to forsake? And what is this but a plain acknowledgment of the dreadful misery in which you are lying every day, liable to the wrath of God, and assuredly ready to receive it, if you die as you live, without a new birth from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness?

3. The danger of neglecting the Lord's table is evident, as it includes the renunciation of our covenant with God. There are but two sorts of people in the world, believers and unbelievers ; thuse who are within the covenant, and those who are out of it. When we were infants, the charitable act done for us in baptism, and the conditional engagement then entered into, can profit us nothing, unless we are putting in our own claim to the blessings then promised ; and, by partaking in the other Sacrament, when we are come to the years of discretion, declare we thankfully embrace the covenant of grace, and receive the signs and seals thereof, in token both of our dependence upon Christ, and our renewed dedication to him. Where this is not done, we deny in fact our baptismal engagements, break the covenant we have entered into, and declare our disavowal of all the promises tben made for us. Hence we can claim nothing under

An Invitation to the Communion.

it, and are left, though we may be professing members of Christ outwardly, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the promises ; withqut Christ, without God, without the covenant, and consequently without hope, without grace, and without heaven.

4. The great danger of neglecting it is evident from the wrath and indignation God hath revealed against the despisers of his covenant. It is said, in Romans i. 18. that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighte

Here then you may read your own condemnation. Who of you, that is come to years of discretion, doth not know the great duty lying upon you to remember the death of Christ ? Do not you condemn others that live in the neglect of the Lord's Supper ; and what is this but condemning yourself? You have excuses, I know; but I warn you there will none of them be taken in the day of judgment: and your own consciences will tell you so, if you will but give them time to speak. You know your breaking the commands of God is what nothing can excuse, and therefore you may be fully assured that the wrath of God lieth upon you. Oh, that from each of these considerations, I knew how to reach your hearts with such an awful, with such a tender expostulation, as might at once alarm and constrain you ! And what urgent cause have I to speak, whilst I see the dreadful neglect of many of you who never come, and of others who come so seldom, that the same condemnation lieth at their - door! Are all such, flagrant transgressors ? Are all

ousness.

1

An Invitation to the Communion.

such, dead in trespasses and sins ? Are all such, out of the Church of God? Are all such, under the wrath of God? In what a fearful state then, brethren, are the most of you living !-in what an una grateful state, where you make Christ's blood, to be shed in vain for you. Have you no sensibility of the amazing love of Jesus, of him who lived, who bled, who groaned, who wept, who suffered, who died for you? Hath he undergone so many things for you in vain ? And surely it is as yet in vain ; for do not you slight all his mercies, despise his salvation, count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and do despite to the Spirit of grace, whilst you quench all his strivings? But if love will not move, at least let fear dismay you. Consider what it is to be an outcast from hea, ven, to be a stranger to God's covenant, to be an enemy to Christ, to be marked out for the divine vengeance, to be without a Saviour in the day of judgment, to be exposed to the storms of eternal wrath, to be banished from God's presence, to be cast into hell, and have your portion with unbelievers ; yet all this, fearful and tremendous as it is, lieth against your soul. Thou, even thou, art the man ! Not having communion with Christ, you are as a branch dried up and withered, which men gather, and cast into the fire, and they are burned. I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to consider these awful truths, and begin to examine your souls, lest, with the thousands that have gone before, you should perish after the same example of unbelief.

But I mean not herein that, with all your sins

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