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Congregation) that we do not come to this heavenly Table trusting in our own " Righteousness, but in his inanifold and great Mercies.” By there we are invited to come; and to the Mercy of God (through Chrift), all of us muft flee, and take Sanctuary in; who has promised that he will in, no wile call out those who come unta bim, John vi. 37. A broken, and a contrite Heart, O God, tbou wilt not defpile, Plalm li. 1. :
. :). .. 30510 There is nothing dreadful in this Sacrament; but to the wilful, im penitent and per: severing Sinner, whore Condition is dreadful, and every Page in Scripture is terrible against such, whether they come or not; but to the penitent and humble Soul, no« thing is diimil or affrighting in this holy Feast; for there is none condemned for un worthy secuiving, but such who deserve it for continuing in cheir Iniquities; and this Impenitence renders even their Prayers an“ Abomination untu the Lord.”: Though they never partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, they are in equal Danger with those who cat and drink unworthily; nay, I might say in greater, because the latter use the means in Obedience to our Saviour's Command, and the former wilfully noglea that which would prevent their Damnation, if rightly considered, and timely applied to. : The surest Way, I say, to prevent their Damnation, is to re.. ceive the Sacrament more frequently than Min usually du, that by a constant l'articipation of this spiritual Focd of the living Bread which comes down from Heas ven, their souls may be nourished in all Goodness, and new Supplies of God's Grace and Holy Spirit may be continually derived to them for the puritying of their Hearts, and to cnable them to run the Way of God's Commandments withi more Conftancy and Delight than they did before. So that the true Consequence of eating and drinking unworthily, should rather excite our Care and Diligence in this Duy, than delude us with falle Reasonings, to such a Neglect as will certain. lý encrease our Damnation ; it being certain that God will never cast any Man into eternal Flames for striving to do his Duty as well as he can. If there be pirila willing Mind, saith the Apostle, it is accepted according to that a Man bath, and not according to ibat be hath not, 2. Cor. viii. 12. Neither ought we to think 10 unworthily, of the Son of God, who came into the World to save Sinners, that he would iuftitute this Ordinance to be a Snare to entangle our Souls with. It was not ordained for Angels, or for glorified Saints, but for humble and penitent Sino Ders, to bring them home to God; it being a Seal of their Pardon, and a refreshing Declaration of our heavenly Father's Readinels to forgive the chiefest of Sinners for Jelus's fake ; who gracioudly calls upon all who are u caried and oppressed with the guilt and burden of their Sins, to come to kim and be will refrelh obem, Matt.XI. 20 Christ came not to call the Righteous, but Sinners to Repentance, Matt. ix. 130;
And consequently such as account themlelves most unworthy, are those very Porfons whom Christ doch here call and invite to this Sacrament, when deeply lona fible of their Unworthiness. Were we not Sinness, were we not conceived a born in Sin, we should not need such Means and Instruments of Grace as Sacra
ments are ; but « being by Nature born in Sin, and the Children of Wrath, we are hereby made ihe Children of Grace, and Inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven,” They that are whole, faith Christ, have no need of a Physician, but they that are fick. This being the case of all Mankind with respect to their 1piritual Lite, there
free ourlelves from this Death of Sin, but by specdily applying ourselves to our heavenly Physician, who came in 10the World to seek and to save thoje that are lof, and ready to perish; and the very Sense of our own Unworthiness, is of all other Arguments, the belt Qualification to recommend us to God's Favour and Mercy, since we know that he refifteth the Proud, fand presumptuous Sinner] but never denies his Grace and Favour to the Humble and Miek. As oft n then as we come to the Holy Communion with such an honest and true Heart, as to exercise our " Repentance towards God, our Faith, and Hope of his Mercy, 6 through Christ, for the Forgiveress cf our Sins, and our Love and Charity for 6 all Mankind; "such a Temper and Resolution of Mind as this, will, doubtless, render us worthy Partakers of these holy Mysteries, and prevent us, “ cating and « drinking Damnation to ourlelves.” Nay, I further add, that any Person thus difpofed or qualified, may come (if it should be required) at an Hour's Warning, as fately as he may come to Church and fay his Prayers, or hear a Sermon. The Duenets of Preparation doth not so much depend upon our setting aside so many extraordinary Days for the forcing ourselves into a religious Posture of Mind, as upon the plain natural Frame and Disposition of our Souls, as they constantly stand isclined to Virtue and Goodness through the general Course of our Lives. Men of great. From whence I infer, that a Multitude of Business, or a Man's being ther publicor deeply engaged in the public Affairs of this World, cannot be any paikal there is Plea vr Preter ce fer bi ne thereby I
lea or Preter ce for his not coming to the holy Communion ; because excused from all Busine's is consistant with the Duties of Religion, provided we gofrequent com
own vsn cur Affairs by Christian Principles : For though such, Men have not Leisure for so inuch actual Preparation, yet tliey may have that babitual Preparation, upon which the great Strels ought to be laid in this Matter : Nay, evenilie conscientious Discharge of a Man's Duty in his Business, may be one of the best qualificarions to recommend him to God; since every Man serves God when he folo lows his Calling with Diligence, and observes Justice and Honesty in all his Dcalings and consequently, the greater Danger and Tempration he is exposid to thra' the Multiplicity of Business, the more need hath le of God's Grace and Allistance, which are abunddantly communicated to us in this holy Ordinance : So that Men of Business, it they have any Serious Thougtits of another World, ought more ef.pecially to lay hold on fuch Opportunities which ticure the Salvation of their Souls, for as they why have Leisure ought to receive constanıly, as the best Improvement of their Time; so they that are engaged in many Worldly Affiirs, ought to cune the oftener to the haly Communion, and learn how to fanctify thir Empo, ments. Iut to proceedi
The other Branch of a Communicant's Duty is, to “ examine a living Forum " whether he lrath a lively Faith in God's Mercy through Christ." Ex. in God's Mercy. amiin 163712des coretkerge be in the Faith, 2 Cor. xiii. 5. this Sacrament of the Lord's. Supper being only appointed for such Believers as own their Baptismi, and pro!ess the Faith of Christ Crucified, and understand the fundamental Articles of the Chrisian Religion, contained in the Apoftle's Creed, and also the End and De
is holy Institution. Tlie Benefits of our Saviour's Death and Passion in this Sacrament are indeed freely offered unto all, but only effe&ually to Believers. As many as received bim, to then gave be power to become the S0725 of God, cuen, to them that believe in bis Name, John i. 12. And this is life eternal, that they might know tbce, the only true God, and Felus Christ whom tlou halt lent, John xvii. 3. All that Christ hath done and iuffered for us Men and our Salvacion, can never profit us, unleli we have Faith to believe it: That which must render the benefits and blessings of the Gospel effectual to our Salvation is our faith in Christ. Veria by I say unto you, faith our Saviour, be that heareth my Words, and believeth on bim. tbat fent me, bath everlasting Life, and shall not come into Condemnation, but is pallet from Death unto Life, John v. 24. The ancient Churches accounted those only. Faithful that had received the Lord's Supper ; and the Germans allowed none to come unto their Sacrifices who had lost their Shields; nor does our own Church allow that any of is should come to this Christian Sacrifice without the Shield of Faith. “ Draw near with Faith, says the Priest, and take this holy Sacrament to " your Comfort,” And this Faith hath God's Mercy, through Chrift, for its oba ject, as the Fountain and Foundation of all those infinite Blessings and Comforts which we gain by his Manifestation in the Flesh; and if we enquire into the caule and reason of so much Mercy and Goodness to Mankind, no other can be given, but the Riches of his Mercy, Eph. ii. 4. And if we further enquire low this Mercy beconie ours, the Antwer is plain, it was through Chrift, by whom all the Blessings of this Life, and those of a better, are purchased for us, and mult be obtained through the merits and Intercession of the Holy Jefus ; by him we were redeemed, and according to the Riches of bis Grace we have obtained Remifhur of our Sins, and through bin at last we shall be glorified. And to this our Faith we muft join " a thankful remembrance of his A.
Remembrance « Death, and of those Benefits which we receive thereby.". Our of his Death. Gracious and Merciful Lord, faith holy David, bath so done bis marvellous Works, that they ought to be kad in Remembrance, Psal. cxi. 4. But cipecially this Work
on by Jesus Christ, which to forget were an Ingratitude baie viler than ever Heathens or Publicans, the very worst of People among the Jews, were known to be guilty of towards their Benefactors-Matt. v. 46. Herein is Love, not that we loved God, but tkat be loved us, and sent his Son to be the Propio tiation for our Sins, i Jobaiv. 10. This is a Mercy far above all other Mercies ; nay, it is even this which sweetens all other Mercies to us. Had there been no Re
demption, our Creation had only made us capable of endless Torments, and it had been better for us never to have been born, than to be born to inevitable Ruin; which must have been our Lot and Portion, had not “ the Son of God, by his
own Oblation of himself, once offered upon the Cross, made a füll, perfect, and « sufficient Sacrifice and Satisfaction to God for the Sins of the whole World.”
The consequences of this Redemption are fo infinitely great and valuable, that it as much jurpasses our Understanding as it does our Meri's. We are to declare and publish to all the World, what God hath done to save Mankind from that Damnation which they had deserved, and to restore us again to that Happiness and Glory which we could never expect or hope to enjoy, had not Christ died for us. O come bither and bear ken, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what be bath done for my Soul; Pfal. lxvi. 16. Praise the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is with. in me, praise his holy Name : Praise the Lord, O my Soul, and forget not all bis Benefits, who forgiveth all thy Sins, and bialeth all thy Infirmities; who saveth thy Life from Destruction, and crowneth thee with Mercy and Loving-kindness, Plalm ciii. 1 2. 3. 4: With what joy and thankfulness then should every good Chriftian commemorate this, exceeding love of God in the Salvation of Sinners by Jesus Christ? This was the proper end and design of this Inftitution, to perpetuate this wonderful Love of Christ in laying down his Life for us. Do this in Remembrance of me, faith our Saviour a little before his Crucifixion; which Our Obligations being a folemn Command of our Master and only Saviour thus to a frequent Coinmunion, « dying for us,"we cannot refuse Obedience hereunto, without being guilty of the most horrible Ingratitude and Contempt of his divine Authority. He hath appointed it for a folemn Commemoration of his great Love to us, in Javing down his Life for us Men, and for our Salvation ; and therefore he commands us to do it in Remembrance of bim : And St. Paul tells us, that as often as we eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, we do new forth the Lord's Death till be scome. As for those Men then amongst us who profess themselves Christians, and hope for Salvation by Jesus Christ, not to pay obedience to th is a downright Affront to his facred Majesty ; and he may justly upbraid us Christians, as he did once the Jews, Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? How unworthy are we of that Salvation which he hath wrought for Us if we deny him so small a favour fuch a reasonable request, as to Commemorate his Death and bitter passion once a Month, or at least thrice a Year, “who did « humble himself even to the Death of the Cross, for us miterable Sinners, who :ce lay in Darkness, and in the Shadow of Death, that he might make us the - Children of God, and exaltus to everlasting Life?" In this Sacrament of the Lord's Supper we have the Pardon and Remiffion of all our Sins, the Grace and Afliftance of God's holy Spirit, and the hopes of eternal Life and Happiness,
. . . D . .
freely offered unto us : And therefore had we oo Love, no Re- Mens own Interest
thould oblige them gard or Reverance to the dying Words of our crucified Saviour, to a constant Con. yet surely the confideration of our own present and future Ado munion, because
of its great Be. vantage might prevail with us to to be more frequent at the Lord's nefits. Table then we usually are...! !
Hitherto a Communicant hath beun directed to set his Heart right towards God; but this is not all, he must proceed farther, and enquire how it stands and
And to be in towards his Neighbour, since we are exprelly forbidden, Matt. v, 23, Charity with 24. to offer up any Gift or Oblation unto God, if our Hearts are leaven a ed with Malice, Hatred, or Revenge. If thou bring thy Gift un!o the Altar, and there rememberest that thy Brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy Gift
Forgiving of Inbefore the Altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy juries expected Brother, and then come and offer thy Gift. Here you see that Christ from a Comnunio
cant. prefers Mercy before Sacrifice. And it is generally agreed on by the same ancient Fathers, that these Words of our Saviour do directly point at this Sacrainént, on purpote to oblige all Communicants to forgive all manner of Injuries, “ before they presume to eat of that Bread, or to drink of that Cup.” And it is exprefly faid, Matt, vi. 14, 15. that our Prayers are not accepted, nor our Parson sealed in Heaven, until such Time as we forgive Men their Trespasses ; and to be sure we can never be welcome or worthy Guests at this heavenly Feast, where Jesus the Saviour of Penitents and the Prince of Peace is spiritually prelent, unless our Repentance reconcile us to God, and our Charity to all Mankind. 3
g Injuries, must likewise Thew itself by the Hand, in relieving the Wants and Necessities of the Poor. Charity to the Poor.
'We read, that when this Sacrament was administred in the Apostles
Days, large Collections of Monies were then gathered for the Maintenance of the poor Clergy and Laity, Aets ii. 44, 45, 46. and i Cor. xvi. I. And Theodoret obferves, that Theodofius the Emperor, when the Time came to offer, arose, and presented his Oblations with his own Hands. It was not determined how much every Man should give, but all Men were exhorted and enjoined to ofter iomething, according to their Ability; which if any neglect. d, the Fathers cenfured them as unworthy Communicants : And to be lure, nothing within our Power can so effcctually recommend our Prayers and Devctions as this of Charity; it being well observed, Matt. vi. that our Saviour hath incloed Alms between 'Prayer and Faiting, and therefore they are called its two Wings, without which it will never fly so high as the Throne of God. While Curnelius was fasting and praying, we read that an Angel from Heaven was dispatched to him with this happy Message: Iby Prayers and thine Alms are come up for a Memwial before God, Acts x. 4. He that hath Pity upon the Poor, lenderb unio the Lurdi and that which he hath given will be pay him again, Prov. xix. 17. Charge them cbat ure rich in this worid, -that they be rich in good Works, ready to diltribute, willing