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AT the Lord's Table, and before we go to it, a most profitable exercise is divine meditation
j nothing serves more to spiritualize and enliven the soul, than the consideration of some of the great and precious promises that in Jesus Christ are made to us; or of those blessed portions of Scripture that more immediately speak of him whom our soul loveth, declare his offices, describe his sufferings, or point us to the glory which followed: they are too numerous to be collected. I will select a few as heads of meditation, which I shall endeavour to enlarge upon, and refer you to many others, which will afford like profitable improvement.
The interval which we spend during the celebration of the Lord's Supper, should be usually most employed in this way. By this means our devotion at the ordinance itself is kept from languishing, and we accustom ourselves more habitually to that communion with God, which should be our daily walk.
GENESIS iii. 15.
I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and
between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
How wondrous the compassions of God to fallen man! he left him not to despair; he slew him not in his sin ; he pitied, he pardoned. See in this first promise, O my soul, how unwilling the Lord is that we should perish. A beam of light and hope breaks through the darkness, and revives the guilty soul of man ; he saw, and believed ; and shall I be now faithless? The true light hath shined, the Sun of Righteousness is arisen with healing in his wings ; I see him not through a glass darkly, but as it were face to face, beholding the promise fulfilled by his appearing in the fulness of time. What confidence then, my soul, should inspire thee, when here before thine eyes thou seest the serpent's head bruised by the sacrifice of the woman's seed! O Saviour, let me adore thy grace, and rest satisfied in the glorious victory thou hast obtained. Thou wast manifested to destroy the works of the devil; oh fulfil in me this great design of thy coming, bring near thy cross to my heart, and bruise at thy feet whatever is serpentine and diabolical in this fallen nature; make me to know, by experience of the effectual working of thy mighty power, that thou art this promised
seed. Let me stand a monument of thy grace on earth, and bring me, as a trophy of thy victory, to heaven.
PSALM iv. 6.
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for
then would I fly away, and be at rest. WHAT a wearisome world is this ! sin and sorrow compass me about; though some sweet drops of heavenly consolation at times revive my soul, yet how often hangs my harp on the willows, and how often is my head bowed down as ears of corn with drops of dew? Lord, thou hast told me of a blessed rest which remaineth for the people of God; thou hast drawn me to look up to it, to pant after it; had my soul wings to fly to thy bosom, how swiftly would I pierce the skies ! No timorous dove, darting from the rapacious vulture, seeks so eagerly its covert, as my poor heart should fly from these sublunary evils, to that shadow of thy wings, where is everlasting rest. When shall it yet be, dear Lord, that my weary soul shall find in thee repose ? Hide me in the cleft of the rock; in thy bleeding side may my sinful soul now find a safe retreat; give me the wings of faith, that I may fly to this relief from the pursuit of divine justice and a consuming law; and when this clog of earth that weighed down my soul, shall be shook off in the
dust, and my imprisoned spirit disentangled from the clay, then let the wings of love direct my flight to the heaven where thou art : and, close sheltered by thy once bleeding side, let me bid an eternal adieu to sin and sorrow. Be patient, my soul, yet a little while, and hope unto the end; he, that is faithful and true, saith, I will give thee rest.
PSALM cxix. 94. I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts. YES, Lord, I am thine by every tie: thine by creation, thine by providence, thine by redemption, thine by grace, thine by every obligation of love, thine by repeated and solemn surrenders of myself unto thee-wholly thine am I for ever bound to be : yet how sacrilegiously have I alienated from thee what was 'thine! how often have I faithlessly dishonoured thee, and broken the vows which were upon me! how, like a broken bow, have I started aside! and still, Lord, my vile heart, how prone it is to wander from thee! How shall I render to thee thine own! How shall I approve myself to thee! Save me-it must be thy own work; without thee I can do nothing to please thee : save me from myself, from my sins, from my corruptions, from my weakness; visit me with thy salvation. If thou set my heart at liberty, then shall I run in the paths of thy commandments : Lord, they are
righteous, just, and good; I delight in them after the inner man. Oh that my ways were made so direct, that I might walk in them for ever! Oh that I could do thy will on earth, as it is done in heaven! Prepare me for the blessed service above, by daily power communicated from thee, to walk in thy ways here below.
PSALM lxxiii. 25. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none
upon earth that I desire besides thee.
LORD, what is heaven but thy favour and reviving presence? what is hell but thy absence and displeasure? The glory of thy sanctuary is thy blessed self ; without thee, those shining mansions would be desolate: thou art there, and there to bless thy people with the enjoyment of thyself. When shall I see thee face to face when shall
my heaven come, to awake up in thy likeness, to behold the transforming glory of thy countenance ? O Lord, for thee my soul longeth, to be where thou art, and as thou art. O heaven! heaven! my God is there; he that is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever! If thou art mine, (and that thou art, thy promises have given me most reviving assurance,) if thou art mine, what can I ask for more, or wish beside ? Lord, thou art all-sufficient. Whilst here I linger out the mo