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and resurrection of Christ, into whom ye were baptized, Rom. vi. 4.
(3.; Improve it for your humiliation under your fins and miscarriages, considering them as fins against the
grace of baptism, and your engagements to God therein ; remembering that fins after solemn engagements to the contrary, are highly offensive to God, and attended with more aggravating circumstances, than if you had never been baptized, and such solemn engagements entered into by you. The vows of God are upon you ; break them not, and go not about after vows to make inquiry.
(4.) Improve your baptism to the strengthening of your faith and confidence in Jesus Christ, especially in downcaftings under a sense of guilt ; for it is a sign and seal of remiffion, adoption, &c. and so may answer the question to an exercised foul, How can I be put among the children?
(5.) Improve it to the vigorous exercise of, and growth in holiness, since chereby ye are engaged to newness of life, as ye are raised from the dead, Rom. vi. 4. Were ye dedicated unto God, does not that say ye thould be holy in heart, lip, and life? As God is holy, so be ye licly in all manner of life and converfation ; remembering that without holiness no man Thall fee the Lord.
(6.) Lastly, Improve it to the increase of brotherly love, even love to all the saints, who are all baptized into one body, i Cor. xii. 13. It is as unnatural for saints not to love one another, or to quarrel with one another, as it is for the members of the natural body to be at war with each other. Then love one another, as Christ hath loved you *,
* See more of this subject in ihe author's sermons on church.communion, first printed in 1737.
A few inferences fhall
Inf. 1. Baptism is not i fon oitener than once. of the ordinance, Tit. i grafted and regenerater!
2. Improve your b? it, and the ends of its : that we are not oft. selves, Into what was no more use of their never been baptized tized, ye should bei: particularly when
(1.) improve is nets to God, tii God's covenant, many in the wc:? of promise.
(2.) Iunprore' tation; confid.. own, and are is gagement to C the flesh; and a
Then in that case 1 whatsoever: i.e. Su he thall be cut off in to, for his contem :, wise.--- Even my coa away, or trampled 1 flicied, is not more 1. had free access to i'. and the or not ; being inca the obligation of a into it; and, in toki he is come to years, zard of refufing is circumcise him device of heat his cbftinacy
ink's, dregs, Jarcuri
, and apply Christ and his benefits. Here I hhall thew,
1. When Christ instituted this facrament.
What the words of inftitution contain. First, When did Christ institute this facrament? The same night in which he was betrayed, ver. 23. Yet this does not bind us to that time rather than to ano. ther, because that was an accidental circumstance, arising from something peculiar to the first institution and administration. For it could not be sooner, in regard it behoved to be after the passover, (which was to be killed in the evening, Exod. xii. 6. and eaten that night, ver. 8.), which was to be abrogated by this new inftitution. It could not be later, because quickly, after he fell into his enemies hands. The time of its inftitution teaches us four things.
1. The most tender care and concern our Lord had and has for his people's welfare and comfort, providing for these just while he was to launch forth into the sea of wrath. Admirable love and tenderness indeed!
2. That it is Christ's dying love token to his friends, and therefore to be highly prized, and duly improved.
3. That it is of special use to fit the Lord's people for a time of trouble and trial. Now the disciples were to meet with a storm which they had never seen the like of, and he reserves therefore the best wine till
4. That it is of special use to fit his people for grappling with death; the which we may learn from his example.
Secondly, For what time is this facrament to continue? I answer, Till he come again, and so it is to last to the end of the world. While he is absent, we must make use of it, as a memorial, ver. 25. 26.
Thirdly, What do the words of institution contain ? They contain Christ's blessing ; which comprehends two things. (1.) A command for the use of this facrament. (2.) A promile of spiritual benefit by it to the worthy receivers, viz. that they shall partake of Christ's body and blood in the right use of it, ver. 24. 25. Take, eat: This is my body – This cup is the new testament in my blood.
II. I proceed to consider the signifying things, or outward elements. These are bread and wine. The bread, ordinary bread, without any determination of what grain it is made, nor whether leavened or unleavened. Our Lord took fuch broad as came to hand, and so may we without scruple, though decency is to be observed. The wine, as to the colour of it, is also indifferent ; and whether a little mixed with water, or unmixed, is so too. Necessity and decency must regulate these things, the church being no otherwise tied by divine' inftitution. Here let us con. sider,
1. What is fignified by the bread and wine.
2. The resemblance betwixt the signs and the things signified.
Firsi, What is signified by the bread and wine? The body and blood of Christ, ver. 24. 25. even a whole Christ with all his benefits; forasmuch as the divine nature after the incarnation was never separa. ted from the human, though the soul was separated from the body, and his precious blood from his flesh.
Secondly, The resemblance betwixt the ligns and the things fignified.
1. Consider the bread and wine separately.
ist, There is a resemblance betwixt the bread and Christ's body:
(1.) Bread is for nourishing of natural life: fo is Chriti's body for nourishment to the soul, Jolin vi. 56. For, says he, my flesh is meat indeed. There the hungry may feed, and be nourished and strengthened, to grow up unto eternal life.
(2.) Bread must be prepared ere it can be bread, or fit nourishment for us, the grain ground, and baked
with the fire. SChrist was grinded betwixt the up. per millstone of the Father's wrath, and the nether inillftone of the malice of men and devils, and cast into the fiery furnace of justice, that he might be bread to our fouls, Pfal. xxii. 14.
(3.) Bread is a common and cheap provision ; it is for the poor as well as the rich. Christ's salvation is the common salvation, Jude 3. free to all who will receive the same, Rev. xxii. 17.
(4.). Of all provision it is the most necessary. No. thing is so necessary for us as Chrift; without him we die, we perish, we all perish, John vi. 53. Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, je have no life in you.
(5.) Lastly, It is a fort of food which hale people will never loath. So is Christ ever sweet to the soul that feeds on him, though distempered souls loath the bread of life.
2dly, There is a resemblance betwixt wine and Christ's blood.
(1.) The wine is squeezed out of the grapes forci. bly by the wine-press. Thus was Chiist’s blood squeezed out of his body, by the wine-press of the Father's wrath, that it might be drink to our souls.
(2.) Wine has a medicinal virtue, Luke X. 34. Christ's blood is the great medicine for the wounds of the foul. There are no wounds so deep, or so hopeless, but an application of Christ's blood will cleanse them, and heal them too.
(3.) Wine is refreshing and strengthening to the body, 1 Tim. v. 23. A draught of this fpiritual drink exhibited to us in the facrament, and to be received by faith, would make the foul pressed with guilt, and a sense of wrath, to stir as a giant refreshed with wine, John vi. 55. My blood is drink indeed.
(4.) Lastly, It is of a cheering virtue, Prov. xxxi. 6. The blood of Chrilt is that whereof those who are of sorrowful spirits, by reason of guilt, may drink by faith, and forget their sorrow, 1 Pet. i. 8.