« AnteriorContinuar »
O Sabbath-breaker, fecure and prayerless finner, turn from your sins untó God and holiness ; fee to Christ for shelter from them, and the wrath due to them ; righteousnefs and redemption are only to be found in him. Would you not count him mad, who being condemned to a cruel death for base crimes, and might efcape it if he would accept of a pardon ready provided for him, and leave off such vile acts for the future, would yet obftinately refuse to do it? And, are not you yet madder, that slight your Saviour, and hug your luits, when your danger is a thousand times greater! What madnefs is it to dishonour God, and damn your soul, to gratify the devil, or please a vile carcafe, that shortly will be so lothsome, that men cannot endure it above ground?
O finner, I beseech you, in the name of the great and glorious Jehovah, and in the name of our glorious Redeemer, be reconciled to God, accept of a pardon through Christ's blood, and engage to quit these fins that would destroy you. Will you please God, and shew kindness to your poor soul by doing it? However much you have ábufed God's patience, trampled his love, fighted his calls, despised his threatenings, and undervalued his promises; yet he is still standing and beseeching you to be reconciled to him. O will not all this goodness melt your heart, and cause you, with Ephraim, Jer. xxxi. 18. to bemoan yourself, and cry,“ Turn thou.me, O Lord, and I shall be turned ?” Without this turning, fee that you venture not to this facred ordinance; let none with the running ulcers of sin upon them offer to sit down at this holy table, for God's pure eyes cannot look upon them. And if you would turn a-right, fee that ye turn believingly to God in Christ: For there is no access to the King of heaven, without bringing the Prince of peace, the King's Son, in your arms; no atonement without Christ, no acceptance but in the Beloved.
· Lastly, If you would turn to God aright, ye must not only turn from sin, but also turn to the ways of holiness and new obedience. It is not enough to cease to do evil, but you must also learn to do well. Some do part with their sins of commission, but continue still in sins of omis. 3 P 2
fion; they leave their gross out-breakings, but still neglect commanded duties. But the tree is not only, ad. judged to the fire that bears evil fruit, but also the tree that bears no fruit: : So that the neglect of duty will, damn us as furely as the commission of fin. Commu. nicants that God will smile upon, are such as not only forsake all known sin, but do sincerely endeavour through grace, to yield obedience to the whole revealed will of God, and in Christ's strength do set about the performs ance of every commanded duty.
But as for those communicants that do not study new, obedience, and do not make conscience of performing every known duty, God will say to such, as he faith to the wicked, Pfal. 1. 16. 17. “ What hast thou to do, that thou shouldft take my covenant (or the seal of my covenant) in thy mouth, seeing thou casteft my words behind thee ?”. They can expect no communion and fellowship with him at his table.
But, on the other hand, he makes very gracious and comfortable promises to those that study obedience, Jer. vii. 24. “ Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people.” As the prophet Isaiah speaks to the Jews of the good things of the land of Canaan, fo may we fay to you concerning the good things of the
facrament, Ifa. i. 16. “ If ye be willing and obedient, - ye shall eat the good of the land." As the land of
Canaan produced very precious fruits, so doth the Lord's supper ; and these far more excellent than those. It is here that the marrow and fatness of God's house is diftributed to his children, Well, if you be willing and obedient, ye shall eat of the good things of the facra, ment.
But see that your obedience spring from right principles, from love and gratitude to God, from a true hạtred to fin, and high esteem of holiness. It was an excellent saying of one, Were there neither heaven nar hell, get fin mould be any hell, and holiness my heaven. The fpirituaily enlightened soul doth see an unspeakable defor. mity in fin, which causeth him to abhor it: He sees such a charming beauty in holiness, that he cannot but love and defire it.
DIRECT. XIII. Meditate much upon the Death and do' Super
Sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, before you approach to his Table.
WOULD you have your hearts put in a suitable communion-frame, then read and think much of the sufferings of Christ; and, in a special manner, take a close view of them on the Saturday's night before the communion. Think on them till your hearts melt, and, affections warm ; yea, resolve you will not give over till then; and beg God's blessing on your meditations for this end.
Think and wonder at the greatness of the humiliation of the Son of God. Admire the law stoop and condes scension of the Son of God, and the King of glory, that he should be content for us to become a creature, and such a mean creature as man; that he, who was equat with God, should become less than God, John xiv, 28. yea, less than angels, Heb. ü. 7. yea, to be depressed below the ordinary condition of man, Psal. xxii. 6. “ I am a worm," &c. Think how he denuded himself of all his riches and glory, that though he was the heir of all things, yet, for our, fakes, he became so poor, that he had not a cradle of his own to ly in when born, a house, to lay his head in while he lived, nor a grave to be by. ried in when he died. He left his throne of state, to, lodge in the virgin's womb : He is born, not in his mother's house, but in a common inn, and the basest place of the inn, a stable, the inn being probably taken up, by persons of richer quality: He is cradled in a manger, having no better place allowed him on earth, though the highest heavens were too mean for him,
Think how he was carried to a wilderness to fast and watch, and live forty days among the wild beasts, haunto, ed and tempted by the devil, and sadly buffeted by his own llaves, and all this for us.
View him going about on foot, hungry, thirsty, and weary, yet always doing good : And the more good he did to souls and bodies, the more was he hunted and
alene, and it and learn they felican be
perfecuted, reproached and blafphemed; and all this for our fakes.
View him entering into the garden of Gethsemane, beginning to fear, turn heavy, and cry out, My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death. What made him heavy, but the dead weight of our fins, and the curses of the law arinexed to them? Behold him complaining to his poor disciples, that could make no help to him, neither they nor the angels in heaven durst touch his loid, nor taste his cup: He could have helped them, but they could not help him. Yea, he got not so much as sympathy from them; they fell asleep when he was at the worst, and left him to tread out the wine press alcne, and all for our fakes..
View him in his fearful agony and bloody sweat, falling sometimes on his knees, and sometimes on his face, praying once, praying again, and praying the third time, that the cup might pass from him, till he is overwhelmed and covered with his own blood. Behold the great drops of blood bursting through and standing a. bove his garments, and falling and lying upon the ground sound about him; being at this time prest betwist the milftone of God's justice and our lins. Behold him sweating without heat, and bleeding without a wound; the fire and the wound were inward, even in his soul. How freely did the fountain of his precioas blood open and run to wash us? Every vein and pore pours out a stream, not waiting for the tormentors, and all for our fakes. • Behold him betrayed and sold for thirty pieces of silver, taken and bound with cords like a thief; yea, bourd fast, as Judas bade, and so fast (as some fay) that the biood did burst out of his terder hands. Can your hearts or eyez hold, to see those hands, that made heaven and earth, wrung together and bruised with hard cords : To see him bound that came to set the prisoners free, and loose us who were Satan's bondo flaves! Bleft Jesus, had not the cords of thy own love tyed thee faster than the cords of thy enemies, though they had been the strongest cabels or iron chains, they
atithem into helj night : Thoucruelly affron
could not have held thee : But thou wast a willing prisoner for our sakes.
Behold bim struck upon the face, spit upon, buffeted, blindfolded, mocked, and cruelly affronted by rude soldiers, a whole night: Though he could have breathed them into hell, yet he meekly holds his peace, and patiently suffers all for our fakes.
Behold his lovely countenance all disfigured by their plucking the hair from his cheeks with pincers, Isa. l. 6. The sweetest face that ever the fun saw was all befmeared with “ blood and spitting, yet he hid not his face from shame.”
Behold him led up and down from place to place, with a ridiculous garb put upon him, and yet never refifts : He is abused and disgraced ; a Barabbas, a murderer, the vilest malefactor in all Jerusalem, is preferred before him; and yet he complains not. View him as he was used by his own family, his chosen disciples ; one of them betrays him, another of them denies him, and all the rest forsake him, and leave him alone among his bloody enemies hands. i
Behold him, that clothes the lilies of the field, Itripped naked : Behold him fcourged back and fide , yea fcourged above measure. (Pilate thinking thereby to save his life) till all the pavement of Pilate's judgment-hall about him is bedewed with his precious blood: Yet he wila lingly gave his back to the smiters, that we might be freed from the everlasting lashes of God's wrath in hell.
Behold him with a platted crown of thorns upon his head, with the sharp points turned inward, and driven into his head, till they pierced his head and skull in an hundred places, and so he is content to be as the ram caught in the thickets, to be facrificed in our room. Behold a new shower of blood running down his neck and whole body: Oh! it was my fins that platted the thorns, and they were the reeds that drave them in.
Behold him, after all these sufferings, put to bear his heavy cross, upon his fore and bleeding shoulders; witha what patience and humility did he bear the law curied tree that was weighed down with our sins, and the law's curses fastened to it? Yea, he bears without complaint