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blow)" Spirit of God, come, influence my heart this day; I dare not go to the table without thy presence : « Lord, stand not this day behind the wall;" for there Cannot be a fadder sight in the world, than a poor hardhearted communicant, with God's back turned on him. “ If thy presence go not with me, carry me not up. hence.” O Lord, it is time for thee to work; I never food more in need of thy presence than at this time: It is my errand to meet with thee at thy table: Lord, send me not away with a fore heart. A communionday, without communion with Christ, will never satisfy
• Plead with God, O young communicant, that this may be the day of your acquaintance with Christ, eves the day of your espousals, and a day to be had in everlasting remembrance. And, indeed, if you enter this day into the bond of the covenant, it will be a very memorable day., God will bless the memory of this day, for he will gain a son ; Jesus Christ will write this day in his kalender, for he will gain a brother ; the Holy Ghost will rejoice, for he will gain a temple; angels and saints will be glad, for they will gain a fellow-fervant; and you, especially, may rejoice with exceeding great joy, for you will gain an eternal inheritance. •
Directions concerning our Carriage when the time of rea
ceiving the Sacrament doth approach.
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I. When the time is come, or near, that you are to go to this holy table; consider that this is the most rolemn and august ordinance under heaven, and requires the most profound awe and reverence from you. The place is holy, the table is holy, the bread and cup are holy; and '“ God is terrible from his holy places." Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? Your danger is great, if you make a rath approach, and seek him not after the due order. The least wrong look or wrong touch at this time is criminal, and may cost you your eternal salvation It may provoke the Lord to make a fearful and visible breach among you, as he did upon Uzzah and the men of Bethshemesh; for, the
nearer to God's altar you come, the fire of his jealousy burns the more vehemently. Labour then to go to his table with holy fear and trembling; for, as communionlove is the sweetest, so communion-wrath is the foreft. Heavy judgments, both fpiritual, temporal, and eternal, hang over the unworthy communicant's head. If you would prevent thefe, adventure to this table with holy fear and dread : For if the woman with the bloody if fue feared fo much to touch the “ hem of Christ's garment," Mark v. how much more ought you to fear to touch the symbols of his body and blood, to put your hand into his wounds, and feel the print of the nails? If fuch a holy man as John the Baptist thought himself unworthy to bear Christ's fhoes, how much more are vile anners, like you, unworthy to touch and feed upon his broken body and thed blood ? Let your souls then be humble as the duft when you approach, in a deep fense of your great unworthiness, former guilt, and breach of former vows made at this table į for to such humble fouls God has promised to look in mercy, lsa. Ixvi. 2.
II. When you are going to the table, labour to ftir up your fouls, and all your faculties and affections; excite all your graces and desires to attend Chrift. O fee that your fouls be lively and your hearts fixed, when you are about to draw near and seal a marriage-covenant with Christ. You have great need to look to your hearts and frames at this time. A dead heart or an ill frame now, is very unsuitable ; it is like the dead fly in the box of ointment, it will be fair to fpoil your communicating. For God's lake look to it..
Object. 1. “Oh!" says one, “ my heart is in a life. lefs and stupid frame, even at a dead stand, and thinks neither of good nor ill: What shall I do with it?"
Anfi 1. Ditpatch prefently a iwift meffenger to heaven, an earneft ejaculation and prayer, to call for the help of God's Spirit, as Cant. iv. 16. Intreat him to breathe upon your dry bones with a fresh gale, and take a coal from his own altar to inflame your affections.
2. Call on your hearts to awake to a lively frame, It is a mistake of Christians to think they are only to call upon God, you must also call upon yourselves, and touse up yourselves, as Pfal. lvii. 8. “ Awake up my glory," &c. Ştir up yourselves and all that is within you, according to Psal. ciii. 1. Speak to your hearts, and expoftulate with them : Say, “ O my drousy block ith heart, art thou not ashamed to think so coldly of thy bleeding Sàviour ?" .Is his heart so warm, and thine so cold? Doth a dead head become the service of a living God?
Obje&t. II.“ Oh!” faith another, “ my heart is a roving, wandering heart, I cannot get it stayed one mon ment upon one subject; it presently gets away, and hunts after vanities. O what shall I do with the levity and excursions of my heart ?”
Anf. 1. Labour now to over-awe your heart with the deep apprehension of God's presence and all-feeing eye ; God noticech you more now than ever, , ,
2. Chide and check your heart for its vain excur. fions : Say, “ Did I come here to think of any thing but of Christ and heaven? Is this a place for think ing on worldly toys ? Is this the way to show forth my Saviour's death, which is my business here! What? cannot I watch with Christ one hour now? How then will I behold and contemplate him for ever."
Object. III. “ Though I am come this length in obedience to a dying Saviour's command, I yet fear to go forward, for I doubt my right. I cannot say I am in covenant with God, or that I have faith, and an interest in Chrift, or that his body was broken for me.”
Ans. O discouraged soul, though you have not the faith of afsurance, yet see if you can get the faith of ada herence. Though you cannot say that ever you took hold of Christ or the covenant before, yet try if you can get a grip of Christ now; you are much nearer to hin now than at other times. Make an endeavour, ftir up your souls, and go to Christ with all the faith you can win at, saying, with that poor man, “ Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” If you cannot apply Christ to
yourselves, will you apply yourselves to Chrift. If you cannot say Christ is your Saviour and hiding place, will you run like a malefaclor to him for refuge, and try if he will now shelter you in his wounds, when they are so wide opened in the facrament. He noticeih any pror finner that is engaging his heart to approach usto God.
Again, though you cannot say that Christ is your's, and you are in covenant with him ; yet, are you not wil. ling to be his, and give up yourself to him » The covenant indeed is mutual, Cant. ii. 16.“ My beloved is mine and I am his.” But if you cannot lay claim to one part of it, try if you can grip to another. Is it your language, Though I cannot say he is mine, yet I am resolved to be his, and to give up myself to him ? That is well said, poor soul : for you niuft first consent to be his, before ye know that he is your's: You must be resolute in your covenanting with Chrift; when you are driven from one horn of the altar, hold fast by another, Flee now to Christ, saying, “ Lord, though I cannot fay thou art mine ; yet I can say, Lord, I am content and resolved to be thine, wholly thine, only thine, and everlastingly thine.” David could not always say, God is mine ; but, when he cannot say that, he cries, “ I am thine, Lord, save thou me," Psal. cxix. 94. Here one that belongs to thee, and has surrendered himself to thce : “ Lord, suffer not one of thine to perish.”
· Object. IV.“ Alas ! I cannot say to God, I am thine: I fear he will not accept of me, or own me for his.”
Anf. Though you cannot say, I am thine by God's ata ceptance ; yet, can you not say, “ Lord, I am thine by my own refignation, I do devote and give up myself wholly unto thee, I will not be the devil's, the world's, or luft's ; I will not be my own, but I will be thine: 1 am thine, save thou me.” Go to him with that plea the Campani came to the Romans with, after they had refused to help them as neighbours and allies against the Grecians, who were distressing them fore, and that because the Romans and the Grecians were in friendship together at that time : The Campani went and gave up
their whole country in vaffalage to the Romans, saying, “ If you will not help us as our allies, help us as your vaffals and subjects, as we are content to be ; we are sure you will not let your tributaries perish.” And indeed this argument prevailed with them, and so will it with God, if you go to him with an importunate faith, and fasten yourself upon him. Plead, « Lord, if thou wilt not love me as a friend, yet pity me as thy poor subject: I resolve to be thine, and, if I perish, one must perish that desires to be thinę. Lord, whether thou accept of me or not, I give up myself to thy use and sera vice." Art thou come this length, poor soul ? Fear not, thou shalt not perish, Christ is as willing to be thine as thou art to be his : Come forward, and take the feal of the covenant, and make a new surrender of yourself to Christ, and it may be he will be made
known to you in the breaking of bread.”
III. When this holy feast comes to be celebrated, see that your souls be rightly employed, and your graces suitably exercised : Study to have your meditations and ejaculations suitable to what you see or hear. . .
When you are coming to this holy table, and perhaps may be put to stand a little by it, by reason of the throng before you get access : Think on what Moses said to the Ifraelites while standing at the Red-sea, Ex-od. xiv. 13. “ Stand still (faith he) and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to-day." In like manner you are standing by the Red. fea of the
blood of Christ : stand still and wonder at the glorious · salvation he is showing to you this day.
Or you may think with yourself, that you hear Christ the captain of your faivation now crying, as did Jehu, 2 Kings ix. 32. “ Who is on my side? Who?" Well, if you will now appear or declare for Christ, then you must throw your lusts, like Jezebel, out of the window, to be dashed in pieces.
When you see the communicants set about Christ's table, you may think on that word, Psal. cxxviii. 3. where God promiseth to the righteous man, " That his wife should be as a fruitful vine by the sides of a house, and his children as olive' plants round about his table.” Behold VOL. I. .