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on all hands, that Christ is represented unto the soul in this ordinance. How shall we do this? shall we do it by crucifixes, pictures, and images? No; they are all cursed of that God who said, 'Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image.' But that way by which God himself, and Christ himself hath appointed to represent these things unto us, that he blesses, and makes effectual. This way, as I have often shewed, is the way that was chosen by the wisdom and goodness of Jesus Christ; the name of God is upon it; it is blessed unto us, and will be effectual, if we are not wanting to ourselves.
II. Christ is present with us, by way of exhibition; that is, he doth really tender and exhibit himself unto the souls of believers in this ordinance, which the world hath lost, and knows not what to make of it. They exhibit that which they do not contain. This bread doth not contain the body of Christ, or the flesh of Christ; the cup doth not contain the blood of Christ, but they exhibit them; both do as really exhibit them to believers, as they partake of the outward signs. Certainly we believe that our Lord Jesus Christ doth not invite us unto this table for the bread that pe rishes, for outward food; it is to feed our souls. What do we think then? doth he invite us unto an empty, painted feast? do we deal so with our friends? Here is something really exhibited by Jesus Christ unto us, to receive, besides the outward pledges of bread and wine. We must not think the Lord Jesus Christ deludes our souls with empty shows and appearances. That which is exhibited is himself, it is 'his flesh as meat indeed, and his blood as drink indeed;' it is himself as broken and crucified, that he exhibits unto us. And it is the fault and sin of every one of us if we do not receive him this day, when an exhibition and tender is made unto us, as here by way of food. To what end do we re ceive it? truly we receive it for these two ends: for incorpo ration; for nourishment.
1. We receive our food, that it may incorporate and turn into blood and spirits, that it may become one with us; and when we have so done,
2. Our end and design is, that we may be nourished, nature strengthened, comforted, and supported, and we enabled for the duties of life.
Christ doth exhibit himself unto our souls, if we are not wanting unto ourselves, for these two things, incorporation and nourishment; to be received into union, and to give strength unto our souls.
III. Christ is present in this ordinance by way of obsignation: he comes here to seal the covenant; and therefore the cup is called, the new testament in the blood of Christ.' How in the blood of Christ? It is the new covenant that was sealed, ratified, confirmed, and made so stable as you have heard, by the blood of Jesus Christ. For from the foundation of the world, no covenant was ever intended to be established, but it was confirmed by blood; and this covenant is confirmed by the blood of Christ; and he comes and seals the covenant with his own blood in the administration of this ordinance.
Well, if Jesus Christ be thus present by way of representation, exhibition and obsignation, what is required of us that we may meet him, and be present with him? For it is not our mere coming hither that is a meeting with Christ; it is a work of faith: and there are three acts of faith whereby we may be present with Christ, who is thus present with us.
1. The first is by recognition, answering his representation. As Christ in this ordinance doth represent his death unto us, so we are to remember it, and call it over. Pray consider how things were done formerly in reference unto it. The paschal lamb was an ordinance for remembrance; it is a night to be had in remembrance; and this they should do for a remembrance; and it was to be eaten with bitter herbs. There was once a year a feast wherein all the sins, iniquities, and transgressions of the children of Israel were called to remembrance; and it was to be done by greatly afflicting of their souls. If we intend to call to remembrance the death of Christ, we may do well to do it with some bitter herbs; there should be some remembrance of sin with it, some brokenness of heart for sin, with respect to him who was pierced and broken for us. Our work is to call over and shew forth the death of Christ. Pray, brethren, let us a little consider, whether our hearts be suitably affected with respect to our sins, which were upon Jesus Christ when he died for us, or no; lest we draw nigh unto him with
the outward bodily presence, when our hearts are far from him.
2. If Christ be present with us by way of exhibition, we ought to be present by way of admission. It will not advantage you or me that Christ tenders himself unto us, unless we receive him. This is the great work; herein lies the main work upon all the members of the church. When we are to dispense the word, the first work lies upon ministers; and when the work is sufficiently discharged, they will be a good savour unto God in them that believe, and in them that perish but in this ordinance, the main work lies upon yourselves. If in the name of Christ we make a tender of him unto you, and he be not actually received, there is but half the work done; so that you are in a peculiar manner to stir up yourselves, as having a more especial interest in this duty, than in any other duty of the church whatsoever; and you may take a better measure of yourselves by your acting in this duty, than of us by our acting in the ministry. Let Christ be received into your hearts by faith and love, upon this particular tender that he assuredly makes in this ordinance of himself unto you; for, as I said, he hath not invited you unto an empty painted feast or table,
3. Know what you come to meet him for, which is, to seal the covenant; solemnly to take upon yourselves again the performance of your part of the covenant. I hope I speak in a deep sense of the thing itself, and that which I have much thought of. This is that which ruins the world, the hearing that God hath made a covenant of grace and mercy, it is preached to them, and declared unto them, and they think to be saved by this covenant, though they themselves do not perform what the covenant requires on their part. What great and glorious words do we speak in the covenant, that God gives himself over unto us to be our God! Brethren, there is our giving ourselves unto God (to answer this) universally and absolutely. If we give ourselves unto the world, and to our lusts, and to self, we are not to expect any benefit by God's covenant of grace. If it be not made up by our sealing of the covenant of grace, or by a universal resignation of ourselves in all that we are and do unto him, we do not meet Jesus Christ; we disappoint him when he comes to seal the covenant. Where is this people,
saith Christ, that would enter into covenant with me? Let it be in our hearts to see him seal the covenant of grace as represented in this ordinance; and to take upon ourselves the performance of what is required of us, by a universal giving up ourselves unto God.
I SHALL now produce some few places of Scripture, one especially, that may administer occasion unto you for the exercise of faith, the great duty required of us at this time. You may do well to think of these words of the prophet concerning Jesus Christ, concerning his sufferings and death, which we are here gathered together in his name to remember. They are,
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.—Isa. liii. 11. There are two things that the Holy Ghost minds us of in these words:
First, That Jesus Christ was in a great travail of soulto bring forth the redemption and salvation of the church.
Secondly, He minds us that Jesus Christ was satisfied, and much rejoiced in the consideration of the effects and fruits of the travail of his soul.
I shall speak a word to both, and a word to shew you how both these things are called over in this ordinance, both the travail of the soul of Christ, and his satisfaction in the fruit of that travail.
First, Christ was in a great travail of soul to bring forth the redemption and salvation of the church. It was a great work that Christ had to do. It is usually said, we are not saved as the world was made, by a word; but there was travail in it; it is the word whereby the bringing forth of children into the world is expressed; the travail of a woman; and there are three things in that travail: an agony of mind; outcrying for help; and sense of pain; all these things were in the travail of the soul of Christ. I will name the Scriptures to call them to your remembrance.
* Delivered Aug. 9, 1674.
1. He was in an agony;' Luke xxii. 44. An agony is an inexpressible conflict of mind about things dreadful and terrible. So it was with Christ. No heart can conceive, much less can tongue express, the conflict that was in the soul of Jesus Christ with the wrath of God, the curse of the law, the pains of hell and death, that stood before him in this work of our redemption. There was an agony.
2. There was an outcrying for help; Heb. v. 7. Who in the days of his flesh offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him.' Such is the outcry of a person in travail, crying out unto them that are able to save them. So it was with Jesus Christ when he was in the travail of his soul about our salvation. He made these strong cries unto God, to him that was able to save him.
3. There was pain in it, which is the last thing in travail; so that he complained that the pains of hell had taken hold upon him. Whatever pain there was in the curse of the law, in the wrath of God; whatever the justice of God did ever design to inflict upon sinners, was then upon the soul of Jesus Christ; so that he was in travail. That is the first thing I would mind you of; that in the bringing forth the work of our redemption and salvation, the Lord Jesus was in travail.
Secondly, It was a satisfaction, a rejoicing unto the Lord Jesus Christ, to consider the fruits and effects of this travail of his soul, which God had promised he should see. He was satisfied in the prospect he had of the fruit of the travail of his soul. So the apostle tells us, Heb. xii. 2. That, for the joy that was set before him,' which was the joy of bringing us unto God, of being the captain of salvation unto them that should obey him, he endured the cross and despised the shame;' he went through all with a prospect he had of the fruit of his travail; there would joy come out of it; the joy that was set before him; as he speaks, Psal. xvi. 6. where God presents unto him what he shall have by this travail, what he shall get by it; saith he, 'The lines are fallen unto me in a pleasant place, yea, I have a goodly heritage.' It is the satisfaction that Jesus Christ (who is there spoken of only in that psalm) takes in the fruit of the travail of his soul; he is contented with it. He