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not feel that you have devoted yourselves to God. But why remain in this state? why condemn yourselves still to the certain misery of a state in which your conscience cannot be at peace? Why not seek that assistance, without which you can never be what you know you must be, before you can be in a state of safety? If
your consciences are sufficiently alive to make you conscious of your danger, why should they not bring you to seek relief? While you are worldly and undecided, you are in a dangerous condition. You must look upon heaven as your home; you must choose the one thing needful, which cannot be taken from you before you can be safe. The love of Christ must constrain you to a life of holiness. Why not choose this part at once? Choose it, and then come for grace to confirm you in your
resolution to the Lord's Table. You feel the weaknesses and pollutions of your soul-come to the Saviour who offers to strengthen, to cleanse, and to feed you.
We may suppose that there are others again who are endeavouring to live to God,
and to obtain salvation, who yet fear to come to the holy communion. They believe in the Lamb of God as their Saviour, they look upon sin as exceeding sinful, they would desire to live in righteousness and true holiness, but they feel themselves to be miserable sinners: that in every act of faith and obedience there is a mixture of something sinful. Their faith is weak; they are continually giving way to temptation. They would wish to be holy—there is nothing they would wish more; but, alas! for what they are! Have such as they the marriage-garment, required by God in holy Scripture? Can they be received as worthy partakers of that holy table? Yes; they are in a condition to receive its blessings. However small their faith, they may come if they love the Lord, and are striving to live to him. Such as they are expressly bidden to this heavenly feast. What they fearfully regard as their unworthiness, is the very condition which renders them objects of the Lord's compassion. We have been made his children. If we have strayed from his house, he is always willing to receive us back, if we will return. He sees us afar off; he despises not the day of small things.
And if there are any of you who feel such scruples, why take counsel only with your own doubts and fears, and not come for advice to those who are set over you in the Lord ? It is a false delicacy which prevents your laying open the state of your conscience to those whose duty it is to direct you in spiritual concerns. The Church says, “If there be any who cannot quiet his conscience, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to his minister, that by the ministry of God's holy word, he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness.” Most willingly will I render my aid in carrying out her maternal intentions. I might feel reluctant to tender my counsel if I spoke in my own name, but it is my duty to magnify my office. I seek not to avoid any responsibility; I hope I am ready to bear cheerfully any pains in my Master's work ; in His name, and as His minister, I affectionately and urgently invite you to consult me privately if you are still unconvinced of the propriety of
presenting yourselves at the Lord's table. I have introduced the subject to you some weeks before the Lord's Supper will be administered in this Church again; let me entreat you in the meantime to give your attention to the subject. I shall now add but a few words from the exhortation which the Church requires to be read under such circumstances : “ As the Son of God did vouchsafe to yield up his soul by death upon the cross for your salvation, so it is your duty to receive the communion in remembrance of the sacrifice of His death, as He himself hath commanded : which if ye shall neglect to do, consider with yourselves how great injury ye do unto God, and how sore punishment hangeth over your heads for the same, when ye wilfully abstain from the Lord's table, and separate from your brethren, who come to feed on the banquet of that most heavenly food.”
AHAB AND MICAIAH.
1 Kings xxii. 8.
“And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There
is yet one man, Micaiah, the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him ; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.
And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so."
For nearly a century after their separation, the kingdoms of Judah and Israel were engaged in frequent hostilities. A spirit of seditious discontent on the one side, and of wanton tyranny on the other, had tended to rend the ten tribes from the dominion of the house of David. The political separation had been aggravated by important religious differences. Judah,