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Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. These are expressions suitable for us at this table, True humiliation makes us welcome the atonement of Christ. : LET THERE BE ACTS OF FAITH IN CHRIST CRUCIFIED; such a faith as worketh by love. You are under that New Dispensation where there is remission of sins, and may therefore have boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh. Heb, x, 19, 20. Now yon should be looking to the crucified Redeemer, with a gracious confidence, as the poor malefactor did, when that Redeemer hung on the cross, and saying to him,-Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. Luke xxiii, 42. Look to him as those women did who followed him from Galilee, went after him weeping to the place of crucifixion, and came and stood by the cross full of fidelity, tenderness, and love. Matt. xxvii, 25. Or again, as that disciple did whom Jesus loved, who waited on him in his last moments, and received his dying charge, and immediately and stedfastly fulfilled it, John xix, 25.
MAKE KNOWN YOUR REQUESTS UNTO GOD. It is a favourable time for prayer. Pray, 1. FOR YOURSELF. Sinners are now reconciled to God by the death of his Son. Consider, then, what it is you most need ; and be particular in unbosoming yourself to your God, even as a child would to a kind and loving father. Pray that the service in which you are now engaged may be a means of grace to your own soul, so that you may receive all the blessings designed by this institution, and especially an increase of faith in Christ; a more simple and entire dependence on his death, as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. Pray also, 2. FOR OTHERS; that they may obtain like precious faith with you in the righteousness of God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Pet. i, 1. Enlarge your petition as the time will allow. Pray for your partners in life; if worldly and unconverted, wrestle with God for their conversion ; if pious, pray that they may abound always in every good word and work. Parents, bring your dear children, as it were, one by one, and by name, before the Lord, and ask for each child a suitable blessing. Masters, pray for your servants. Pass on to the devout recollection of all your relatives and friends, and think especially of the peculiar circumstances of any of them, which may require peculiar aid from God. Pray for your minister, that while he dispenses to others, he may also richly partake of the bread of life, to the nourishing of his own soul; and for your fellow communicants, that as each partakes of the outward symbol, he may inwardly feed on Christ by faith. Pray, too, for all Christians throughout the world. Intercede for all those who have wronged or injured you, striving to enter into the full meaning of our Lord's command, Love your enemies. Pray for Jews, Turks, infidels, and heretics; the death commemorated in the sacrament, is that of a Lamb to take
away the sins of the world. Let, then, a communion day be specially a day of intercession for all men, that God would pour out his Spirit on all flesh.
PRAISE GOD FOR HIS MANIFOLD MERCIES.Surely the immense benefits which we are here commemorating should lead us to say, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies, who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. Never can we view redeeming love aright, without a thankful and grateful heart. If Jesus has done so much for us, surely we may well offer up the rapturous song of praise, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood, and hath made us to be kings and priests unto God and his father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Give UP YOURSELF TO THE SERVICE OF GOD. All we are, and all we have, are from him; and when such mercies are presented before us as the Lord's table exhibits, each should be constrained to present himself (freely and voluntarily offering ourselves) to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. Jesus has redeemed us from the death of sin, and eternal ruin ; let us, then, yield ourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of righteousness unto God. The Lord's Supper is one of the appointed ways in which God calls from time to time, to give up ourselves afresh to him. It is an ordinance in which one shall say, I am the Lord's ; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel. Isa. xliv, 5.
MAKE HOLY RESOLUTIONS IN THE STRENGTH OF DIVINE GRACE. Now is the time to determine more firmly to strive against all sin, and more resolutely
to fulfil all your duties. Deliberately, in the presence of God, and his saints, now in your secret devotions, express your stedfast purpose to have no fellowship with the unfruitful workers of darkness, but rather to reprove them; and that, however assailed and tempted, you will, in the strength of Christ, and quickened by his death, be faithful unto him. Now is the time to decide upon and bind yourself to more enlarged charity. When Zaccheus was honoured with the presence of our Lord under his own roof, he said, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give unto the poor, and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. It was on this determination that he was gladdened by that cheering assurance—This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a Son of Abraham. And when Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, we should be forming purposes and plans how we may most effectually lay ourselves out to him.
This is also a proper time for MEDITATION upon divine subjects. We sball endeavour, in a subsequent Chapter, to furnish some help in the discharge of this duty. Let us have ready some affecting passages of God's word relating to the love of God in Christ, and the Saviour's sufferings and death, and think on them till the Holy Spirit touch and inflame our heart with some kindlings of love to God, and some breathings after him.
On the Communion Service of the Church of
IE nature of the Lord's Supper, and the whole of its design, are practically and devotionally brought before us in our Communion Service. We are here, also, furnished with a test of those dispositions which are needful for a due reception of this ordinance. It has been well remarked, “Read over attentively the service of our church, and if you can join heartily and sincerely, with the spirit and with the understanding, in the prayers, the confession, and the thanksgiving that are there, you are indeed meet to be a partaker of those holy mysteries.”
It is hoped that the following observations on the Communion Service, may assist the devotions of the Church of England communicant.* We have an excellent form of sound words, which we shall do well to hold fast; (2 Tim. i, 13.) but, we should ever remember, that there must be something besides the
* Several of these observations are taken from the Rev. J. Milner's Sermon on the Communion. The author has not entered into any critical remarks on the service. Those who wish to see it defended from objections may consult Wheatley, Nichols, and others, on the Common Prayer, and Hooker's Eccl. Polity, Book v, sect. 68. The Author's object has been to give a few practical and devotional remarks on the Service.