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An Invitation to the Communion.

in your soul toward him, and a willing heart leads you to his table, to present yourselves a living sacrifice unto him. Then shall the ordinance be as much to his glory, as your comfort; and you shall find, by blessed experience, that you do not only come, but are welcome.

Self-examination a necessary Duty.

CHAPTER III.

SELF-EXAMINATION A NECESSARY DUTY BEFORE

WE COME TO THE LORD'S SUPPER.

As the profiting in the blessed ordinance of the Lord's Supper, depends chiefly upon the disposition of mind in which we approach it, it will become all, as St. Paul advises, who would come with spiritual discernment, and return with a blessing, seriously to examine themselves before they presume to eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. To comfort the afflicted, encourage the doubting, and to help the sincere in this behalf, wil be the design of the present chapter, as well as to quicken every soul to the too-neglected work of communing with his own heart. Our Church Catechism will supply us with the four principal and essential points of enquiry; which if we understand thoroughly, and answer faithfully, we may come to the knowledge of our state respecting God, and consequently our fitness or unfitness for the Lord's Supper. And these are,

I. Whether we “ repent truly of our former sins, "stødfastly purposing to lead a new life?"

Self-examination a necessary Duty.

II. Whether we “ have a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ ?"

III. Whether we « have a thankful remem« brance of his death ?"

IV. Whether we men?”

are in charity with all

Points, each of which deserves a larger treatment than this short exercise ; and yet you may come to some safe determination about them, if you will attend to what is now to be set before you.

I. Then, to examine whether you repent truly of your former sins, stedfastly purposing to lead

a new life,” you must understand what is meant by evangelical repentance, and newness of life. I shall describe them as including,

1. Divine conviction of sin.

2. A sorrow for sin.

3. Hatred of sin.

4. Forsaking of sin.

5. An evident change wrought upon your heart and life.

1. Divine conviction of sin. This, our Lord says, is the express work and office of the SpiritHe shall convince the world of sin. The conscience

E

Self-examination a necessary Duty.

may receive from other sources conviction, but till God the Spirit effectually opens the eyes to see, and the heart to feel, no repentance unto salvation never to be repented of, will be exercised. Other sources of conviction will be as the early dew, or morning cloud, transient-will leave no deep, permanent, and effectual impression : but when God will work, and he turns the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, then shall we be turned. The means he usually employs for this purpose are bis Law and Gospel ; opening the spirituality of the one, and the guilt of rejecting the other. Sometimes awakening providences, afflictive losses, sudden bereavements, or personal sufferings, or the like, prepare the heart for receiving the word of salvation ; and perhaps, though less frequently, without the instrumentality of means, God the Spirit may make secret impressions on the conscience, and bring sin to remembrance. But in whatever way he works, his arrows stick fast, and leave no rest to the soul, till it turns to him from whom we have so greatly departed.

2. Evangelical repentance includes sorrow for sin. They who sow in tears, shall reap in joy. And when have we so much cause to be exercising sorrow for our sins, and to mourn, as when we are coming to look upon him whom we have pierced ? Here the foundation of repentance must be laid. We must lay to heart the great dishonour we have done to God by our sins, how many and great they have been, how vile our nature and hearts are, as well as how perverse our ways have been. We

Self-examination a necessary Duty.

must reflect upon the ingratitude of sin, and how every act, every thought of it, has added a pang to the Saviour's agony. We must consider it as the grieving of the Spirit, the defilement of his temple, our bodies, and the abominable thing which he hateth. We should reflect on the wages of sin, even death eternal, and that of but one sin. How deeply then are we in arrear to the divine justice, when heart and life have been nothing but sin ! Thus its evil nature and heavy guilt should both conspire to beget in us the deepest sorrow and remorse that ever we should dare transgress against the Majesty of Heaven and the Father of Mercy; that ever we should be ungrateful to a dying Jesus ; that ever we should provoke the patient Spirit; that ever we should madly trifle with our souls, and plunge them into such awful condemnation. But have such thoughts ever been harboured in your hearts ? Are you now desiring to mourn for your iniquities; and do they, in these views, dwell upon your heart as a sore burden, too heavy for you to bear? Are you sore smitten on the grievous remembrance, and ready, like the Prophet, to wish for a head of waters, and eyes like a fountain of tears, to run down day and night, for iniquities which a sea of your own tears would never wash away? Do you know any such sorrow, and is the grief for your sins the bitterest cup you have ever drank of? This is a gracious disposition; for true godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, never to be repented of.

3. Repentance implies an abhorrence of sin and ourselves. Behold (says Job) I am vile, therefore I

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