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Of the Nature of a Sacrament.

mortified limb, cut off from all living communication with the rest, and full of putrefaction !

3. It is called the New Testament in Christ's Blood. Where a testament is, there must of necessity, saith St. Paul, be the death of the testator ; for a testament or will is only in force after men are dead. In the Sacrament this testament is opened : the blood of Christ, here emblematically poured out of his heart, shews it is valid by his death ; and all the legacies therein contained, are to be applied for, and paid down, according to the purport of the will of the deceased. As on the renovation of the old covenant on Sinai, Moses sprinkled the blood of calves and goats with scarlet wool and hyssop on the book of the law, signifying thereby the sealing of the covenant; so here God condescends by this continual sign to seal to us visibly, for the assistance of our faith, all the blessings of the covenant of grace in Christ Jesus : assuring us, by such an ordinance of his own appointment, that this shall be, as the rainhow in the clouds, the pledge to us that no deluge of wrath shall ever again sweep away those who come to him by Jesus Christ.

The design, then, of the Lord's Supper may be partly seen from these names, and is fully expressed in one of our answers in the Catechism ; it was ordained “ for the continual remembrance of the “ sacrifice of the death of Christ, and of the benefits which we receive thereby." To both of which points I shall speak a little.

Of the Nature of a Sacrament.


First-It was ordained us for the continual re" membrance of the sacrifice of the death of “ Christ.” Here we are taught to look upon him as bleeding for us upon the accursed tree. Here the Lamb of God, as if lie had been newly slain, is in the ordinance set forth as crucified among

Here the broken bread represents his mangled body, torn with scourgings and buffetings, pierced by the thorns, the nails, and the spear. Here we may see his agonies, remember his mockery, reproach, insults, and all the complicated miseries which made his sufferings the most afflictive that ever the earth beheld : behold and see, all ye that pass by, is there any sorrow like unto my sorrow!

Here also we see his blood gushing as from his side, when the soldier's spear entered his heart, and forth with came thereout blood and water.

This his bitter death we are to remember; and that it was a sacrifice for our sins. As under the law, the sinner laid his hand on the victim's head, in token of transferring the guilt of all his sins upon the substitute ; so here we must especially remember that the transaction before us is sacrifical and vicarious ; that Christ gave himself an offering for sin, made himself a curse for us, as it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree; so that we are to look upon him herein as “ taking away sin by the sacrifice of himself," and bearing the burden of your and my iniquities in particular. And in this sacrifice of the death of Christ, many things are represented to us, as included in the transaction, and which we are called at the same time to remember. Such as,

Of the Nature of a Sacrament,

1. The great love of Christ towards us sinners. Was ever love indeed like his ? Well may it bé called love which passeth knowlerige. Angels are lost in wonder, whilst they look into the mystery of redeeming love; and how then should we, to whom this love is shewn, be astonished, whilst we are called to partake of it ? He died not for angels, but for men ; and when? Was it when we were faithful, affectionate, and obedient, that we gained his heart to such an expensive manifestation of his love ? No; when we were enemies by wicked works, when we were without strength or power to love or obey him, even then in due time did Christ die for the ungodly. In us there was nothing but misery. We were lost in sin, wilfully lost by our disobedience, without power or inclination to seek for any favour at God's hands ; and he needed not our services : his glory would have been unsullied, if he had given us up to the fruit of our folly, and left us to our deserved ruin. Neither can he receive any addition to his happiness by us, who is in himself all-sufficient, and in his nature infinitely happy, exalted above all blessing and praise. But, freely moved by the mere benignity of his heart, and out of pure compassion to us, Jesus offered to stand in our stead ; and, since, to save us, he must be made man, his love stooped to every meanness of our condition, to the form of a servant, to the death of a malefactor. Love brought him down from the throne of glory, love clothed him with a body like our own, love urged him on through all the painful steps of his afflicted life; the waters of trouble were never able to quench it, nor the floods of per

Of the Nature of a Sacrament.

secution to drown it. Love put the cup of trembling into his hand, love bid him drink the last drop, of all its dregs ; for having loved his own, he loved them unto the end. His love cried, It is finished ; when, having sealed with blood the sure and well-ordered covenant, his soul was dismissed, and he went to begin his triumphs over death, hell, and the grave. And when he rose again, love was his first expression: Go to my brethren, and say, I ascend to my Father and to your Father. Love carried him to the right hand of God, and there he is this moment shewing forth the unchangeableness of his affection, by ever living to muke intercession for us, and pleading before the throne the marks of love so deeply engraven in his hands and in his side. And when can we then be called so feel ingly to remember this love, as at an ordinance, where all its glory is thus made to pass before us?

2. We are here to call to mind the great evil of sin. Never was it seen in such glaring colours, as when it was written in a Saviour's sweat, and tears, and blood. Here sin indeed appears exceeding sinful. Its horrid nature and deep malignity are seen throughout the whole transaction, beyond what all the miseries which ever attended it before, could possibly lead us to conceive. The cries of infants, the pains of sickness, the groans of wretchedness, the agonies of the expiring, and all the awful horrors of death, serve in some measure to tell us what an evil and bitter thing sin is, which could have occasioned such dire effects : and yet one glance at the glass of the sufferings of Jesus,

Of the Nature of a Sacrament.

will reflect the horrid image of sin in colours infinitely darker and deeper. There we see it black indeed, when an incarnate God agonizes under its load, when horror and darkness filled his soul with intolerable anguish, and pain tortured his body till the sweat, as great drops of blood, fell down to the ground. Was this for sin ? Yes, brethren, it was sin which made Jesus exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; it was sin made him sore amazed, and very heavy ; it was sin which extorted from him that piercing cry, My God! my God! why hast thon forsaken me ? Behold, and tremble then, whilst you look upon this awful sight! Look in, and let these sufferings cast a light upon your vile hearts; and learn to loath and abhor yourselves and sin, whilst you are taught to see its -inexpressibly abominable nature.

3. Herein remember also the inexorable justice of God. Though love would pardon, it yet must be in a way wherein justice should be satisfied. Sin required an expiation equivalent to its high demerit ; neither earth nor heaven afforded any such- I looked, and there was none to help. Justice demanded righteous juilgnieni, such as had been poured upon rebel angels cast down into hell on their first transgression; the thunderbolt of wrath was lifted up to smite us sinners to the lowest pit. Jesus steps between, and cries-- Stay them from going down to the pit I have found a ransom. receives the deadly shaft in his own body on the tree, and manifests the justice of God more glorio' ously than could have been done by the destruc


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