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you know not but your faith may come to a firey trial, as did the martyr, faith of old : And, how will you be able to abide such a trial as that, if you never put it to a previous private trial ? “ If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, how wilt thou contend with horses ?” How wilt thou abide a firey trial, that cannot endure a closet-trial? Meil will not buy oxen for plowing, but they are delirous to put them to trial, Luke xiv. 19. “I have bought five yola of oxen, and I go to prove them ;” and, will commut:cants pretend to such precious jewels as faith, love, &c. and yet not desire to prove them, and especially at a time when it is so highly requisite, and so very much depends on the doing of it?

III. Try your repentance before you partake: For, without a broken heart, you cannot expect to meet with a broken Christ in the facrament, but a broken and a contrite heart is a sacrifice he will not defpise. You must fow in tears, if you would reap in joy : for a wetseed-time doth here prognosticate a sun-shiny and plentiful harvest. It was of water that Christ made the choicest of wine at the marriage-feast in Cana of Galilee ; fo the water of true repentance will produce the choicest wine of consolation in the facrament. When Joseph's brethren came to be fenfible of their fin in selling him, then it was, and not till then, that he made them a feast, and kindly entertained them at his table : So till such time as we be sensible of our sins, and repent for piercing our Redeemer, he will not feast us, nor {mile upon us at his table.

Now, because there is much counterfeit repentance in the world, go retire in secret, and put questions to yourselves concerning your repentance : Say, “ Am I à penitent in heart, and a secret mourner for sin, when no eyes see me but God's? Do I mourn for inward and secret fins, as well as for outward and open sins? Do I mourn for the dishonours done to God by the sins of others, as well as by my own! Am I troubled more for the evil of sin, than for the evil of afiliction? Am I more grieved for abusing the mercy and goodness of God, than for exposing myself to the sword of his justice? Do I cry with the penitent prodigal in my

confeflions 3 H 2

confessions, as in Luke xv. 18. “ Father, I have sinned' against heaven, and before thee ?” Alas, I have wronged a kind and loving father, whose goodness towards me hath been as the dropping dew: Ah, I have pierced my compassionate Redeemer, and crucified him over again by my sins; and, what do I deserve at his hands ?”

Again, What are the effects and fruits of your repente ance? Doth it beget in you a vehement hatred and indignation against lin, and a watchfulness to prevent it.

herever there is true repentance, there will be a hearty àversion to fin. As a burnt child will dread the fire, so a Christian, who hath truly repented of fin, is to lenfible of the weight of fin, and the wrath of God, that he is resolved never more to touch these burning coals. David, who before his repentance had his conscience so. hardened, that he could even drink the blood of Uriah; yet, after his repentance, his conscience was fo tender, that he refufed so much as to drink of that water which had been but the occasion of hazarding mens lives.

And, lastly, Doth thy repentance work in thee a holy revenge against fin? Dost thou look upon it as the enemy of God, the murderer of Christ, and destroyer of thy soul ? and, upon that account, that it doth not deserye to live? It was Efau's expreslion, Gen. xxvii. 41. " The days of mourning for my father are at hand; and then will I flay my brother Jacob.". But say thou, O com. municant, “The days of mourning for the death of my dear Saviour, and everlasting Father, are come; and now will I lay my most beloved lufts, now will I be revenged on them for seeking to rob me of my spiritual birth-right, and wrong me of my eternal blessing, and, which is worse, for actual crucifying of my glorious Redeemer. Shall sin be suffered to live in my soul, that would not suffer my Saviour to live in the world ? A. way with it, away with it ; crucify it, crucify it," By such marks as these, try the fincerity of your repent ance.

As for the trial of your love, desires, spiritual appetites, new obedience, and other graces, seeing I have no new thing here to add, I refer you to Sacr. Cat. (forf edit.) F. 193. &c.

Some

Some objections of doubting Chriftians, relative to the for

· mer doctrine answered.

Obje&t. I. “ BY what I have heard (may some say) I fear I am not fit nor prepared for this solemn ordinance; and it being a thing so dangerous to come to it unpreparedly, I tremble and fear to go forward to that holy table."

Anf. 1. Did you always keep the fear of God in your souls, preparation-work would be less painful, and an approach to God less frightful than now it is : For then you might go to the Lord's table with holy fear and reverence, and Naviih fear would not so much haunt you. Did you ki ep more at a distance from fin, and fear to do what God has forbidden, you would not so much fear to do what he hath commanded.

2dly, Though you be not so prepared for this ordi, nance as you desire, yet if you sincerely make conscience of preparation work, and do your utmost to get yourself ready, you ought to go forward in obedience to God's command, Do this in remembrance of me. I know there are not a few excruised Christians brought to great straits betwixt a sense of their unfitness, and the obligation of God's command, so that they know not what to do; their fears and discouragements are so great, they are like to be overwhelmed with them. But let such mind the word of the Lord to the children of Israel, when they were in great perplexity at the Red-sea, and their hearts sinking for fear, Exod. xiv. 15. “ And the Lord said unto Mofes, Speak unto the children of Ifrael that they go forward.” Forward, might they say, (and the deep sea before us) as good go backward to the Egyptians, or stand still and let them come up and put us to the sword, as go forward into the sea, and be drowned; surely, the deep sea will have no mercy on us more than the Egyptians. But, for all this, Speak to the children of Ifrael (faith the Lord) that they go forward. Let them obey my commandment, and trust me with their lives. Here is encouragement to the doubting believer, that in all sincerity makes preparation for this ordinance, though

deeps, or Itand go forward have no mercake to

he hath many doubts about his right to it, and great sears about the event of the duty: The Lord bids us speak to such a man, that he go forward ; let him obey God's commandment, trust God for his through-bear. ing and success.

Object. II. “ But (faith another) none should come to this table, but they who are in a state of grace; and I apprehend I have no grace, I cannot lay claim to any of the marks of grace before mentioned, and, particularly, I want faith in Jesus Christ; and, how shall I go to the Lord's table ?”

Ans. There may be true grace and true faith in a soul, fincere and acceptable before God, though yet the degrees of it may be so small, and the operations of it so weak, that it can hardly be discerned by us. Now, though you cannot lay claim to the foregoing marks, yet see if you can at least answer to the following ques; tions :

1, Do you not see yourself undone and lost for ever without Christ, and that none but Christ can save you, and you never resolve to look to any other ?

2dly, Are you not grieved for the fins that have undone you, and would as willingly be free of them, as ever a fick man would be free of his Gckness, or a prifoner of his chains ?

3dly, Do ye not conscientiously practise whatever you are convinced to be your duty, and dare not omit it when you know it? Do ye not sincerely aim at praper, searching the scriptures, mourning, meditations, and other duties?

4thly, As you dare not omit these duties, can you say also, that you dare not rest in them, nor rely on them, because you see your prayers for pardon have need of pardon, and your tears for an have need themselves of being washed in the blood of Christ ?

5thly, Do you unfeignedly desire Christ, and hunger and thirst for him and for his righteousness, as that which only can be sufficient to cover the nakedness of your souls? Are you willing to accept of him on any terms, willing that he should fanctify as well as save you, bring

you you to obedience as well as to glory? Doth your judgement value Christ above all, and doth your, will chuse him before all things? If you doubt whether you love him, vet tell me whether you would love him if you could ? If you doubt whether you have already receive ed him, yet tell me whether you are unfeignedly willing to receive him? Then these are some degrees of grace, some workings of faith, well-pleasing in God's light; and, do you cherish and improve them in the use of God's appointed means, they will increase.

Object. III. “ But (faith one) we are required to draw near 10 God with a true heart in full assurance of faith; and how can I be accepted, who have a heart full of fears and doubts ?”.

Anf. 1. The assurance of faith is indeed to be fought and endeavoured by all in their approaches to God, but yet it is not the attainment of every believer in his approaches to God: For there are some who have come to him with much fear, and yet have gone away with much comfort, Mark v. 32. the woman that had the bloody issue came fearing and trembling, and fell down before Christ; and yet Christ said to her, ver. 34: Daughter, go in peace : she came to Christ in fear, and yet went away in peace

2. The best course we can take, under a burden of fears and perplexities, is to go with them to Jesus Christ. for relief. David, when he was overwhelmed therewith, gets to the “ Rock that was higher than he,” Psal. lxi. 2. and on this rock he lays all his burdens, and founds all his hopes. O believer, your rock Christ is higher than you, higher than all your enemies, higher than all your fears and temptations; he is sufficiently able to overmatch them all. Get yourselves to this strong Rock, and shelter your souls in the clefts thereof.

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Object. IV. “But (faith another) I have little hope of meeting with Christ at his table; and what should such a hopeless creature do there?”

Anf. 11. It is indeed the duty of all believers to come to this ordinance with raised hopes and expectations of

meeting

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