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fight, that grace, that evidence of the things themselves as the present signs are, which are accomplished. Christ doth not give us empty signs.
Nor, (2.) Does Christ give us his flesh and blood, taken in a carnal sense. If men would believe him, he has told us a long time ago, when that doubt arose upon that declaration of his eating his flesh and drinking his blood; John vi. 52. (though he did not then speak of the sacrament, but of that which was the essence and life of it) How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' He told us, that eating his flesh profited nothing in that way they thought of eating it; for they apprehended, as the Papists do now, that they were to eat flesh, body, bones and all. Why, says he, 'the flesh profits nothing; it is the Spirit that quickens;' that power that is to be communicated to you is by the Spirit. So that Christ does not give us his flesh and blood in a carnal manner, as the men at Capernaum thought, and others look for. This would not feed our souls.
But then, what is it that Christ does exhibit, that we may exercise our faith upon? I say, it is himself as immediately discharging his great office of a priest, being sacrificed for us. It is himself as accompanied with all the benefits of that great part of his mediation in dying for us. May the Lord stir up our hearts to believe that the tender Christ makes unto us is originally and principally of himself, because all the benefits of his mediation arise from that fountain and spring, when God purchased the church with his own blood. A way this is which the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the wisdom of God, has found out and appointed to make a special tender of his person to our souls, to be received by us. And he tenders himself in the discharge of his mediation in the most amiable and most glorious representation of himself to the soul of a sinner. Christ is glorious in himself, in all his offices, and in all the representations that are made of him in the Scripture unto our faith; but Christ is most amiable, most beautiful, most glorious to the soul of a believing sinner, when he is represented as dying, making atonement for sin, making peace for sinners, as bearing our iniquities, satisfying the wrath of God, and curse of the law, to draw out our hearts unto faith and love. Christ in this ordinance makes such a representation of him
self as bleeding for us, making atonement for our sins, and sealing the everlasting covenant: and he proposes himself unto us with all the benefits of his death, of that redemption he wrought out for us, peace with God, making an end of sin, bringing in everlasting righteousness, and the like. I intend only to remind you of these things, for we are at a loss sometimes as to the exercise of faith in and under this duty.
3. There remains to be considered, reception; for unless it be received, there is nothing done to any saving purpose. Notwithstanding all this tender that is made, the issue of all the benefit and consolation lies upon receiving.
There are two ways whereby we do receive Christ:
(1.) We receive him sacramentally, by obedience in church order. And, (2.) We receive him spiritually and really by faith, or believing in him.
(1.) We receive him sacramentally. This consists in the due and orderly performance of what he has appointed in his word for this end and purpose, that therein and thereby he may exhibit himself to our souls. It doth not consist (as some have thought) in partaking of the elements; that is but one part of it, and but one small part. Our sacramental reception consists in the due observation of the whole order of the institution according to the mind of Christ.
(2.) Spiritually, we receive him by faith: and if we could rightly understand that special act of faith which we are to exercise in the reception of Christ when he does thus exhibit himself to us, then should we glorify God, then should we bring in advantage to our own souls.
I have but a word to say, and that is this; it is that acting of faith which is now required of us which draws nearest unto spiritual, sensible experience. Faith has many degrees and many acts, some at a kind of distance from the object in mere reliance and recumbency; and many other acts of faith make very near approaches to the object, and rise up to sensible experience. It should be (if God would help us), such an act of faith as rises up nearest to a sensible experience. It is that which the Holy Ghost would teach us by this ordinance, when we receive it by eating and drinking, which are things of sense; and things of sense
are chosen to express faith wrought up to an experience. And they who had some apprehension hereof, that it must be a peculiar acting of faith and rising up to a spiritual experience, but finding nothing of the light and power of it in their own souls, gave birth to transubstantiation, that they might do that with their mouths and teeth which they could not do with their souls.
Faith should rise up to an experience in two things, [1.] In representation. [2.] In incorporation.
 The thing we are to aim at, to be carried unto by faith in this ordinance is, that there may be a near and evident representation of Christ in his tender unto our souls; faith being satisfied in it; faith being in this matter the evidence of things not seen, making it exist in the soul, making Christ more present to the soul than he would be to our bodily eyes, if he was among us; more assuredly so. Faith should rise up to evidence in that near and close representation it makes of Christ in this exhibition of himself.
And, [2.] Faith is to answer the end of eating and drinking, which is incorporation. We are so to receive Christ, as to receive him into a spiritual incorporation, that the flesh and blood of Christ, as communicated in this ordinance through faith, may be turned and changed in our hearts into spiritual vital principles, and unto growth and satisfaction. These are the three things we receive by nourishment, and wherein incorporation does consist; there is an increase and quickening of vital principles, there is growth, and there is satisfaction in receiving suitable food and nourishment. Faith, I say, should rise up to these three things in its acts. I mention these things to direct the actings of our faith in this holy administration.
I SHALL offer a few words to direct you in the present exercise of faith in this ordinance. I design no more but to give occasion to that particular exercise of faith which is now required of us, whereby we may sanctify the name of God in a due manner, give glory to him by believing, and receive establishment unto our own souls: and I would do it by minding you of that word of our Lord Jesus Christ in
JOHN xii. 32.—And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw
What he means by his lifting up, the evangelist expounds in the next words, which are these, This he spake, signifying what death he should die.' So that the lifting up of Christ on the cross, is that which he lays as the foundation of his drawing sinners unto him. No sinner will come near to Christ unless he be drawn; and to be drawn is to be made willing to come unto him, and to follow him in chains of love. Christ draws none to him, whether they will or no, but he casts on their minds, hearts, and wills, the cords of his grace and love, working in them powerfully, working on them kindly, to cause them to choose him, to come to him, and to follow him. 'Draw me, we will run after thee.' The great principle and fountain from whence the drawing efficacy and power of grace doth proceed is, from the lifting up of Christ. Drawing grace is manifested in, and drawing love proceeds from the sufferings of Jesus Christ on the
But that which I would just mind you of at present is this, that the look of faith unto Christ as lifted up, is the only means of bringing our souls near to him. Our faith is often expressed by looking unto Christ; Isa. xlv. 22. 'Look unto me,' says he, 'and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.' The conclusion is, that those who so look unto him shall be justified and saved. Isa. lxv. 1. 'Behold me, be
* Delivered September 5, 1675.
hold me.' And it is the great promise of the efficacy of the Spirit poured out upon us, that we shall look unto him whom we have pierced;' Zech. x. 12. God calls us to look off from all other things, look off from the law, look off from self, look off from sin, look only unto Christ. Is Christ said to be lifted up in his death; and to die that manner of death wherein he was lifted up on the cross? so it was expressed in the type; the brazen Serpent was lifted up on a pole, that those who were smote with the fiery serpents might look to it. If the soul can but turn an eye of faith unto Jesus Christ as thus lifted up, it will receive healing; though the sight of one be not so clear as the sight of another. All had not a like sharpness of sight that looked to the brazen serpent; nor have all the like vigour of faith to look to Christ; but one sincere look to Christ is pleasing to him, so as he says, Cant. iv. 9. Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse, thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes.' A soul sensible of guilt and sin, that 'casts but one look of faith to Christ as lifted up, it even raises the heart of Christ himself, and such a soul shall not go away unrefreshed, unrelieved.
Now, brethren, the end of this ordinance is to lift up Christ in representation: as he was lifted up really on the cross, and as in the whole preaching of the gospel, Christ is evidently crucified before our eyes, so more especially in the administration of this ordinance. Do we see then wherein the special acting of faith in this ordinance does consist? God forbid we should neglect the stirring up our hearts unto the particular acting of faith in Jesus Christ, who herein is lifted up before us. That which we are to endeavour in this ordinance is to get a view by faith, faith working by thoughts, by meditation, acting by love, a view of Christ as lifted up, that is, as bearing our iniquities in his own body on the tree. What did Christ do on the tree? what was he lifted up for, if it was not to bear our sins? Out of his love and zeal to the glory of God, and out of compassion to the souls of men, Christ bore the guilt and punishment of sin, and made expiation for it. O that God in this ordinance would give our souls a view of him! I shall give it to myself, and to you in charge at this time: if we have a view of Christ by faith as