Imágenes de páginas

An Invitation to the Communion.

3. They are excluded from any spiritual partaking of the Lord's Supper, who come merely to qualify themselves for an office; the impiety and profaneness of which is indeed past the power of words to express. What! can worms of the earth dare trifle with the blood of the Son of God! and, merely to serve their own secular concerns, pollute the altar of the Lord ! Can any thing be so horridly insolent as to come evidently with this thought ! Lord! I am not come here with any view to thy

glory; I am not come here as an undone sinner, penitent and believing, to receive the pardon of my sins ; I am not come to remember thy death,

nor expecting any benefits from it ; or at least “ these are not my chief aim-I am come only to " qualify myself for an office, a mere teniporal bu“siness ; and, were it not for this, I should gladly stay away." What a language this! what spots are these at our feast! what hardness and stupidity of conscience is such communicating disposed to beget! This is making the Blood of the Covenant common indeed. I tremble for the consequences ; knowing very well that, though we may be deceived, God will not be mocked. To have eaten and drank, in his presence thus, will doubtless send us away at the last day, with a Depart from me, accursed ! I never knew you. And they who now thus drink of the cup of the Lord, will be found among those who shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation. Mark this well, ye who only come to qualify, and sell not your souls to the god of this world, for thirty or thirty thousand pieces of silver. To prostitute this ordinance as a test, has long ap

An invitation to the Communion.

peared to me among the deepest of our national crimes. Tremble, ye Ministers of State, to the lowest Exciseman! There is a God who seeth and judgeth, and will in no wise spare the guilty.

4. They partake unworthily who only come at particular seasons, and, instead of having an habitual fitness, make all the work of the Communion to consist in a week's preparation ; as if the Lord's Supper was a mere slavish duty, and a week's formal cleansing was all that is necessary to approach it. These mistake the very nature of the ordinance, and put their one week's preparation, instead of all those tempers and dispositions which are required to be abidingly in the soul. For it is not cleansing the outside of the cup and platter—it is not the abstaining from gross sin-it is not saying so many prayers extraordinary, or not going into company, or being strictly regular for one week, that can shew us to be faithful people. This is the strangest farce of devotion that can be conceived, and can neither be pleasing in the eyes of an heartsearching God, nor at all answer the end designed of preparing us for a suitable approach to the Lord's table. The work to be done is heart work, not of the lip and knee ; and the preparation is the inward trimming of our graces, not the outward forin of a round of extraordinary duties or devotions. None are meet to approach the Lord's table, who are not every day maintaining spiritual communion with Christ, and always ready for his table when ever a call invites them thither. There must be a daily sacramental vowing fidelity to him, and an exercise of faith in his death, and the benefits of it,

An Invitation to the Communion.

wherever Christ hath real communion with the soul. Hence you may see the absurdity of putting on religion, only as our best clothes, once a month or a quarter ; and that such persons as these, instead of being the friends of Christ, are no better than ceremonious visitors, whose room would be more welcome than their company. Christ, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, and who searcheth the heart and the reins, sees nothing but spiritual ignorance under the mask of devotion, and no inward sense exercised to discern him, consequently not the least meetness for an approach to his table-needs must he address such with, How camest thou in hither?

6. To conclude, none can partake profitably, who have not found acceptance with God through the righteousness of the Saviour, and in consequence experience the mighty power of his grace on their souls. By the mighty power of his grace, I mean that virtue derived from Christ, through the operation of his Spirit, whereby a dead sinner is quickened to spiritual life, and endued with spiritual sensibility. If in this ordinance, the exercise of repentance, faith, charity, thankfulness, humility, and of all the other graces, is necessarily required, in order to a discerning the Lord's body, then it is evident that they who are without these, can never partake spiritually. Now we are all destitute of these till the Spirit of God, making the Gospel of Jesus effectual to us, enlightens our minds to see the fulness which is in Christ, and inspires these holy dispositions into our souls. We cannot repent and believe, and love and be thankful, or humble, by any native will or power of our

An Invitation to the Communion.

own; we might as soon think of plucking the sun from the firmament, as of exercising one of these graces, by our own will or sufficiency. They are all the work of God, the parts of the divine nature communicated to the children who are begotten, not after the will of the flesh, nor of man, but of God. Therefore, if you do not know any such change wrought in you, any such new creation, any mighty working, like unto that which raised op Jesus from the deadl; if you have not an experimental sense of the quickening influence of the Spirit of God upon your soul, and have not begun to see that you have passed from death unto life, from darkness unto light, from the power of Satan unto God, it is plain you cannot possibly partake discerningly of this ordinance. Should you give ever so much meat and drink to a dead man, it would neither bring him to life, nor nourish the carcase. The case is the same- -if there be no spiritual life in the soul, there can be no strengthening and refreshing by the body and blood of Christ.

Secondly—These persons therefore, one and another, must needs be excluded from all the saving benefits of Christ's death and passion; and if thus careless, ignorant, siuful, and unconverted, they approach the Lord's table, they must neeils eat and drink their own damnation. A fearful world indeed! Enough to make the ears of every one that heareth it, to tingle; and which our Church well explains thus" We kindle God's wrath against us, wé “provoke him to plague us with divers diseases, “ and sundry kinds of death; judge therefore yourselves, brethren; that ye be not judged of

An Invitation to the Communion.

" the Lord.". Here you see that present judgments, and the wrath to come, are the wages of such as, by a rash, unadvised, and unsuitable approach to the Lord's table, are guilty of the body and blood of Christ our Saviour. And shall we provoke God's wrath against us? Are we stronger than he? Forgive ny tender concern for you, I am not speaking these things to grieve or disturb you ; but, as beloved children, I warn you. You must be freely dealt with; you will not forgive me else at the day of judgment, if I should now be unfaithful to your souls. I press, I invite you, yea, I command you, in the name of Jesus Christ, not to slight his table as you do. But then judge yourselves whether ye are in the faith : for if ye are amongst those I have described, you cannot be welcome guests ; if you live in ignorance of your state, as a Fallen and a sinful creature; if you respect merely a temporal convenience, if you make it a matter of form, and have not a living principle of grace in your souls, abstain at present, as you would not imbrue your hands in Christ's blood, and crucify him afresh. Yet abstain not altogether. As you value your everlasting salvation, do not lie down in this state, but hear the present call of Jesus ; look to this sacrifice that still bleeds for you; call upon him, whilst yet he is near, to prepare your heart according to the preparation of the sanctuary. Let your past forgetfulness, neglect, and dishonour of him, lie deep upon your minds, and be among those things which especially humble you before him ; and then arise as perishing sinners, to lay yourselves at the foot of his cross, to look to him whom you have pierced, till faith in his blood produces love

« AnteriorContinuar »