Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ment for sins, by transferring the punishment from the offerer to the thing offered, which is therefore called, the accursed thing, as we read Lev. xvii. 11. so, under the Gospel, we are told, that it was for this end that our Saviour died, and suffered in our stead, that he might obtain the pardon of our sins, and reconcile us to his Father, by laying the guilt of them upon his own person. And accordingly he says of himself, that he came to give his life a ransom for many, Matt. xx. 28. And St. Paul tells us, 2 Cor. v. 21. that he was made sin or us, who knew no sin.

And as the end of both institutions was the same, so they were both equally extended. The paschal lamb was offered for all the congregation of Israel; and so is the sacrament of the Lord's Supper to be administered to all the faithful people in Christ, that do not exclude themselves from it. And for this reason I believe, that as all the congregation of Israel was to eat the Passover, so is all the society of Christians to receive the Lord's Supper; those only to be excepted who are altogether ignorant of the nature of that covenant it seals, or openly and scandalously guilty of the breach of the conditions it requires.

But why, say some, should there be any exception? Did not Christ die for all mankind? And is not that death said to be a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world? All this is true; but it does not from hence follow that all men must be actually saved and absolved from their sins by virtue of his death. No, it is only they who apply to themselves the merits of his passion, by partaking duly of this holy sacrament, which is the proper means by which these blessings are conveyed to us, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption. I say duly, because though this sacrament was ordained for all, yet all will not make themselves worthy of it; and those that are not so, are so far from reaping any benefit from it, that, as the Apostle says, they eat and drink their own dam

nation, not discerning the Lord's body, 1 Cor. xi. 29. And therefore I believe, that as in the institution of the Passover there were some particular duties and ceremonies enjoined for the better solemnization of it; so there' are some preparatory duties and qualifications necessarily required for the celebration of the Lord's Supper, which, before I presume to partake of it, I must always use my utmost endeavours to exercise myself in. And these are,

First, that I should examine, confess, and bewail my sins before God, with a true sense of, and sorrow for, them; and, taking firm resolutions for the time to come, utterly to relinquish and forsake them, solemnly engage myself in a new and truly Christian course of life.

Secondly, that I should be in perfect charity with all men, i. e. that I should heartily forgive those who have any ways injured or offended me; and make restitution or satisfaction to such whom I have in any respect injured or offended myself. And then,

Thirdly, that I should, with an humble and obedient heart, exercise the acts of faith, and love, and devotion, during the celebration of that holy mystery; and express the sense I have of this mystery, by devout praises and thanksgivings for the great mercies and favours that God vouchsafes to me therein; and by all the ways and measures of charity that he has prescribed, manifest my love and beneficence to my Christian brethren.

These are the proper graces, this the wedding garment, that every true Christian, who comes to be a guest at this holy Supper, ought to be clothed and invested with.

Do thou, O blessed Jesus! adorn me with this holy robe, and inspire my soul with such heavenly qualities and dispositions as these; and then I need not fear, but that as oft as I eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood, I shall effectually obtain the pardon and remission of my sins, the sanctifying influences of his holy Spirit, and a certain interest in the kingdom of glory!

See farther, Treatise of the Sacrament.

ARTICLE XI.

I believe, that, after a short separation, my soul and body shall be united together again, in order to appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, and be finally sentenced according to my deserts.

I KNOW this body, which for the present I am tied to, is nothing else but a piece of clay, made up into the frame and fashion of a man; and therefore, as it was first taken from the dust, so shall it return to dust again; but then I believe, on the other hand, that it shall as really be raised from the earth, as ever it shall be carried to it; yea, though perhaps it may go through a hundred or a thousand changes before that day come. There are, I confess, some points in this article, which are hardly to be solved by human reason; but I believe there are none so difficult, but what may be reconciled by a divine faith: though it be too hard for me to know, yet it is not too hard for God to do. He that should have told me some years ago that my body then was, or should be, a mixture of particles fetched from so many parts of the world, and undergo so many changes and alterations, as to become in a manner new, should scarce have extorted the belief of it from me, though now I perceive it to be a real truth; the meats, fruits, and spices, which we eat, being transported from several different places and nations, and by natural digestion transfused into the constitution of the body. And why should not I believe, that the same almighty Power, who made these several beings, or particles of matter, by which I am fed and sustained, can as easily with his word recal each part again from the most secret or remote place that it can possibly be transported to? Or, that he who framed me out of the dust, can with as much ease gather all the scattered. parts of the body, and put them together again, as he at first formed it into such a shape, and infused into it a spiritual being:

And this article of my faith I believe is not only grounded upon, but may, even by the force of reason, be deduced from, the principles of justice and equity; justice requiring, that they who are copartners in vice and virtue, should be copartners also in punishments and rewards. There is scarce a sin a man commits, but his body hath a share in it; for though the sin committed would not be a sin without the soul, yet it could not he committed without the body; the sinfulness of it depends upon the former, but the commission of it may lawfully be charged upon the latter: the body could not sin if the soul did not consent; nor could the soul sin (especially so oft) if the body did not tempt to it. And this is particularly observable in the sins of adultery, drunkenness, and gluttony, which the soul of itself cannot commit, neither would it ever consent unto them, did not the prevalent humours of the hody, as it were, force it to do so. For in these sins, the act that is sinful is wholly performed by the body, though the sinfulness of that act doth principally depend upon the soul.

Neither is the body only partner with the soul in these grosser sins, but even the more spiritual sins, which seem to be most abstracted from the temperature of the body, as if they depended only upon the pravity and corruption of the soul; I say, even these are partly to be ascribed to the body. For instance, an atheistical thought, which one would think was to be laid only upon the soul, because the thought takes its rise from thence; yet if we seriously weigh and consider the matter, we shall find, that it is usually the sinful affections of the body that thus debauch the mind into these blasphemous thoughts; and that it is the pleasures of sense that first suggest them to us, and raise them in us. And this appears, in that there is no person that ever was, or indeed ever can be, an atheist at all times; but such thoughts spring up in the fountain of the soul only when mudded with fleshly pleasures. And thus it is in most other sins; the carnal appetite having gotten the reins

into its hand, it misleads the reason, and hurries the soul wheresoever it pleaseth. And what then can be more reasonable, than that the body should be punished, both for its usurping the soul's prerogative, and for its tyrannizing so much over that, which, at the first, it was made to be subject to?

But farther, it is the body that enjoys the pleasure, and therefore good reason that the body should likewise bear the punishment of sin. Indeed, I cannot conceive how it can stand with the principles of justice, but that the body, which both accompanies the soul in sin, enjoys the pleasures of it, and leads the soul into it, should bear a share in the miseries which are due to, and inflicted upon, it. For what doth justice require, but to punish the person that offends for the offence he commits? Whereas, if the soul only, and not the body, were to suffer, the person would not suffer at all; the body being part of the person as well as the soul, and, therefore, the soul no person without the body.

Hence it is, that though the Scripture had been silent in this point, yet methinks I could not but have believed it: how much more firm and stedfast then ought I to be in my faith, when truth itself hath been pleased so expressly to affirm it? For thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise, Isa. xxvi. 19. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt, Dan. xii. 2. And thus saith the Saviour of the world, who is the way, the truth, and the life; The hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation, John v. 28, 29. The same hath it pleased his divine Majesty to assert and prove with his own mouth, Matth. xxii. 31, 32. and by his Spirit, 2 Cor. xv. and in many other places: from all which I may,

« AnteriorContinuar »