« AnteriorContinuar »
THE following Treatise upon the Sacrament was drawn up at Oxford. It was part of a course of Catechetical Lectures on Sunday afternoons. It pleased God, at the time of delivery, to bless them greatly to the instruction and edification of the people. I pray the Spirit of all grace, that he would still accompany them with his blessing.
Reader, thou wilt find three points chiefly proposed in this work.
First, To open the conscience to a discovery of its guilt and misery, its great need of Jesus, and the salvation which is in him. This is the leading point in our most holy religion ; a soul unawakened to a sense of sin, and unaffected with the views of his own inbred corruption, and departure from God, can have no more business at the Lord's table, tlan a man in health hath for a physician.
Secondly, To explain the true nature of the Lord's Supper, the intention of it, and the privileges therein conferred on the faithful. And here Jesus must needs be the Alpha and Omega. The institution is his, the things signified are his Body and Blood, the blessings conferred are all purchased by him, and freely bestowed on his covenant people. In short, Christ is here peculiarly all in all.
Thirdly, To enforce that universal surrender of heart to the Redeemer which his love to us so justly demands; that as we declare solemnly this is our intention, to devote to him our bodies, souls, and spirits, “ to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service;' we may shew the truth of our professions by such a conversation as becometh godliness; not content with the lukewarm negligence of careless professors, but shewing the zealous diligence of active disciples; not resting on the ceremonious performance of an ordinance, but living every day in a course of communion with God.
The Prayers and Meditations are added as the necessary means to promote such a daily walking with God; for as we live daily pensioners on the divine grace, we must every day ask our daily bread, and in the field of the word collect the live ing manna. Certain it is, that a real Christian can no more live without prayer and the word of God, than a living body can subsist without proper nourishment; and they will be most flourishing in their soul's health, whose appetite for the sincere milk of the word is keenest, and who pray without ceasing
May the God of all grace accept this mite cast into his treasury, and make it effectual to the advancement of his own glory, and the salvation of redeemed souls.
ALDWINCKLE, October 10, 1764.
THE NINTH EDITION.
The acceptance of this little labour of love, marked by the number of editions which have been called for by the Public, has engaged the Author to revise it again for the press. The instances of many who have received a blessing from the perusal, are at once the best reward, and most powerful inducement to continue his services for the souls purchased by the precious “ blood of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world.” The happy and increasing revival of religious impressions among many, encourage hope that the deserted Mahle of the Lord shall become more frequented, and that many young persons, turned from the pursuits of vanity and dissipation, will begin to feel themselves immortal, and not be di· verted from due attention to an eternal world by the seductions of vice, or the delusive pleasures of sin, which are but for a season. It is with an especial regard to them, whose hearts are yet tender, not drenched with the intoxicating draught of triffing amusements, or fast bound in the chain of fashion and folly, that this little book claims their consideration, and suggests to every one who bears, and would deserve, the name of Christian, the necessity of joining themselves to the Lord by voluntary surrender at his table, as the pledge of their fidelity to him, and union with those, who, baptized in his name, have been from infancy devoted to his service: and especially having in the Charch of England offered themselves for confirmation, have solemnly ratified every engagement previously entered into for them, and profess to have given satisfactory evidence to their Pastor of their views respecting the Christian principles, and of their stedfast purpose to receive Christ Jesus as their Lord, and to walk in him. However improperly, carelessly, and superficially this matter is at present managed, the institution is excellent; and if the preceding steps to confirmation were properly improved, nothing appears to promise more beneficial effects, or to have a happier tendency to impress the consciences of young persons with a sense of divine truth, and to engage them early, before they are drawn into the vortex of corruption, to consider their ways, and to receive assurance, that none ever repented that their earliest days were consecrated to God our Saviour, and that the longest life spent in his service, affords the most substantial blessedness.
To any person who has ever given the matter a serious consideration, it is impossible to doubt the obligation of every Christian to join himself to the Lord in his instituted ordinances. The command is the most explicit, and the neglect of it must be wilful as criminal. The intention is the most beneficial for us, as honourable to our Lord; avowing therein our transcendent obligations to his blood-shedding for us, we receive the constant pledge and assurance of all the benefits of his pas
and shewing forth the Lord's death till he come, have every powerful claim, from the most impressive motives for our conduct, " to live for him who died for us," and to prepare to meet him as our friend, who, we believe, is so shortly coming to be our Judge. If the frequency of the case did not take off our surprise, though adding to the