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Signs and Tokens ; nor are Tears always necessary t5 Reperitance, though they very well beceme us; and the least we can do when we have dona amiss, is to be sorry for it, and to condemn our Folly, and to be full of Indignation and Dir. pleasure against ourf. Ives. I will declare my Iniquity, faith holy David, and be forry for my sin, Pfal. xxxviii. 18.L. Especially if we have been very wicked, ard have inultiplied our Franfgreffions, and have continued long in an evil Courfe, have neglected God, and have forgotten him Days without Number ; then the Measure of our Sorrow must bear foine Proportion to the Degrees of our Sins ; if they have been as Scarlet and Crimion, Ila.'i. 18. that is, of a deeper Dye than ordinary,' then our Sorrow must be as deep as our Guilt : If not so great, we ought to thew fo much: Trouble and Contrition of Spirit, as to produce in us a penicential Con: fellion of all our fôriner Sins. Which is the Third Property of a fincere Repentance. I will acknowledge my
fon unto thee, says holy David, ant mine Unrighteousness bave I not bid. Confeflion of Sin.
Ifaid I will confess my fins unto the Lord, and so thou forgaves the Iniquity
of my fin, Pialm xxxii. 5. Which Confession of Sins must not be in general Terms only, that we are Sinners with the rest of Mankind, but it must be a 1pccial. Declaration to God of all our most heinous Sins in Thought, Word and Deed, with all their leveral Aggravations. laying open our Sores to our heaveoly. Physician ; and this we must do to shew that we condemn all our former evil and vicious Courses, with a full purpose and Resolution of Mind (by God's Atiftance) never to do the like again. Unless this be done, our Sorrow for Sin, and tha Confession of our Wickedness, can nevér profit us in the Sight of God, if it be nocjoined with a firm resolution of leading a new Life:
Which is the fourth and most effential Part of a sincere Repentance, and the only Condition of finding Mercy with God. He that covereth his Sins Ball not profper; but whifo confefitb and for saketh them shall bave Mercy, Prov.
A scw Life xxviii. 13. Let the wicker Man forlike his Waj's, and the unrighteous Man bis Thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and be will bave Mercy upon him, and to our God, and be will abundantly pardon, Isa. lv. 7. I tell you nay, faith Christ, but except ye repent, ge mall all likewise perish, Lukė xiii. 3. Repent J'e therefore, anis be converted, that your Sins may bé blortext out, Aets iii. 19. Those preceding Parts of Ropentance before-mentioned, are only preparative to this, that which must complete and finith the work of a new Convert is, to become a new Creature, " to turn from our evil ways, and to break off cur Sins by Righteoul" ness." This certainly must be the Defire and Intention of all Communicants, if they hope or expect any Benefit of Advantige from this folemn Rite or Cuvenant; for hi that comes with a Design for Intention of continuing in his former Sins, comes sone what like unto Juda, that came and received, and at the fathe Time Cuntinued his Resolution of ortraying his Master. That iwhich makes a Man ablolutely unfit to receive the holy Sactament, is the living in the constant and libitual
Pradice of any known Sin, without the least De fire or Intention of Repentance or A mendinent. Such a Man's Approach to the hely Table, ro doubt, is to:eat “ and drink his own Damnation, since it is a plain Mocking of God, and a great Contempt and Abuse of his divine Authority. We mutt-therefore (by the. Help and Amistance of Goo's Grace) « retolve to lead a new Life, following the Com“.mandments of God,' or otherwise our fornier. Examinations will appear but flight and superficial, our Sight and Sense of Sin trivial and indifferent, our Sorrow and Contrition of Spirit forced and hypocritical, and our Confessions odious and formal. Therefore examine well the Sincerity of your Repentance and Relulutions that
you neither deceive God nor yourselves: Him you cannot, becaute he is a: Searcher of the Heart, and a Difccrner of the I bougkts, nor will he accept of any thing which is not hearty and unteigned.
Not that we are to suppose that this Sacrament of the Lord's Supper doth reNo abfolute quire perfe& Obedience in all our Addresles to the Holy Altar, or that pušted af.cr the none must come but luch as are in a sinless State of Perfection : No, holy Sacra.
this were impossible, because th-re is no Man which liveth and hnneth not for who can say, I have made my Heart clean, I am pure from my Sin? The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is not a converting, but a confirming Ordinance, intendcd to preserve and increase that spiritual Life and Grace which we received at our Baptism: So, that when we come to the holy Communion we come thither for freih Supplies of Grace and Goodness, “ for the strengthening and refreshing of our “ Souls, in all Holiness and Virtue." As our natural Bodies are fed and nourished with those Elements of Bread and Wine, the fame Effect is wrought in the Soul, in the inward Man, by these holy Mysteries, as in the outward Man by Bread and Wine; Bread being the Staff of Lise, and Wine the most sovereign Core dial (when taken in due Proportion) to chear and rejoice the Heart. And thus our Sculs, by this Sacrament, are fortified and strengthened with Grace, Wisdom, Courage, and all other spiritual Gifts, to keep us through Faith unto Salvation: Both the Comfort and Benefit of it, are great ; the Comfort of it, because it dues not only represent to us the exceeding Love of our Saviour, in giving his Body to be broken, and his Blood to be fhed for us; but it likewise seals to us all those Blessings and Benefits which are purchased and procured for us by his Death and Passion; namely, the Pardon of Sin, and Power against it. The Benefit of frequent Communion is also of great Advantage, because hereby we are confirmed in all Grace and Goodness, and our Resolutions to live in Obedience and Conformity to God's Law are strengthened and the Grace of God's holy Spirir, to do his Will, is hereby conveyed to us : it is the lovereign Remedy against all Temptations, by mortifying our Passions, and by 1piritualizing our affections : In a Word, it is the likelieft Method to make our Bodies the Temples of the Holy Ghost, and to prepare our Souls for the enjoyment of God to all Eternity.
And if at any Time, through Ignorance, Surprize, or the Violence of any other
Relapfes after Temptation we should fall into those very Sins which we have repented Receiving pos os, and vowed against when we were at the last Sacrament, yet these redangerous,
i lapses should not make us afraid of coining again, since we always have the Penrfit of Repentance allowed us : If after a Relapse we repent, and renew our Resolutions with a hearty Grief and Contrition of Spirit, we are made whole as before. If the wicked, saith God, will turn from all bis Sins that he hath committed ; and all bis Transgreffions that he kaih committed, they shall not be mentioned unto bim, Ezek. xviii 21. 22. Sin na more, says our Saviour to the Woman taken in Adultery, and I will not condemn thee, John viii. 11. It is not the Commission of this or that great Sin that will utterly exclude us from God's Mercy and Forgiveness, for then, indeed, no Perion could escape Damnation, becaule there is not a jult Man upon Earth, that doth God and finneth not, Eccles. vii. 20. But it is our living and dying without Repentance and Amendment, that brings God's Wrath and Vengeance upon us. His Mercies are not limited ; he will not only pardon us once or twice, but always upon our Repentance and Return to him. No Time, no Age or Seafon, does he except against; but whenever the wicked Man turneth away from his Wickedness that be bath committed, and deth that which is lawful and right, he fall save bis Soul alive, Ezek. xviii. 27. Neither is there any Sin, though never so vile and heinous in its own Nature, but shall be remitted and forgiven, unless it be that Sin against the Holy Ghost. All manner of Sins and Blasphemies Mhall be forgiven unto Men, but the Blasphemy against the Holy Gbolt Mall not be forgiven, Matt. xii. 31. 32. And consequently this Sin of eating and drinking unworthily, in the worst Senle, cannot be a damning Sin, because God in the Gospel (for Christ's fake) hath promiled to forgive all, our sins, upon our Repentance, and therefore this of unworthy Receiving among the rest.
Some People, I remember, have been very much concerned and discomposed at their Devotions, upon the repetition of some few Expressions contained in the last Exhortation to the Communion; namely, “. Of being guilty of the Body and
Blood of Christ our Saviour,—Of eating and drinking our own Damnation, « Not considering the Lord's Body,-Kindling God's Wrath against us,—Pro« yoking him to plague us with divers Diseases and sundry kinds of Death." These are hard sayings, and some of them too hard to be understood : But however, they are all avoided and escaped by coming worthily, that is, with Faith and Repentance : Therefore let not these terrible Expressions trouble you, or detain you from the holy Communion: Repent and believe, and you are safe and fecure from falling into any of those Dangers, which these Sentences may seem to threaten you with. So that the Want of a Preparation, as some Men have alledged, and in the Sense they generally take it, can never be a sufficient Plea or Pretence for their not coming to the holy Communion ; because after our best and strictest Endeavours to prepare ourselves, we profess (before God and the
Congregation) “ That we do not come to this heavenly Table trusting in our own Righteousness, but in his inanifold and great Mercies."
." By theie we are invited to come; and to the Mercy of God (through Chrift), all of us must fice, and take Sanctuary in; who has promised that he will in no wile cast out those who come into bim, John vi. 37. A broken and a contrite Heart, O God, tbou, wilt not despise, Plalm li. 1.
There is nothing dreadful in this Sacrament, but to the wilful, impenitent and persevering Sinner, whose Condition is dreadful, and every Page in Scripture is terrible againsuch, whether they come or not; but to the penitent and humble Soul, nothing is diimil or affrighting in this holy Feast; for there is none condemned for una worthy secuiving, but such who deserve it for continuing in their Iniquities; and this Impenitence renders even their Prayers an“ Abomination unfu the Lord.” Though they never partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, they are in equal Danger with thote who eat 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 vilfully neglea that which would prevent their Damnation, if rightly considered, and timely applied to. The surest Way, I say, to prevent their Damnation, is to res ceive the Sacrament more frequently than Min usually du, that by a constant Pare ticipation of this spiritual Focd of the living Bread which comes down from Heaven, their Souls may be nourish.d in all Goodness, and new Supplies of God's Grace and Holy Spirit may be continually derived to them for the purifying of their Hearts, and to enable them to run the Way of God's Commandments withi more Constancy 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 Duiy, than delude us with false Reasonings, to such a Neglect as will certainly 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 first a willing Mind, faith the Apostle, it is accepted according to that a Man bath, and not according to that 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 inftitute 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 Sin. ners, to bring them home to God; it being a Seal of their Pardon, and a refreshing Declaration of our heavenly Father's Readinels tɔ forgive the chiefest of Sinners for Jelus's fake; who graciously calls upon all who are rearied and oppressed witb.tte guilt and burden of their Sins, to come to kim and be will refresh them, Matt. xi. 38 Christ came not to call the Righteous, but Sinners to Repentance, Matt. ix. 13.
And consequently such as account themelves most unworthy, are thofe very Persons whom Christ doch here call and invite to this Sacrament, when deeply lona finle of their Unworthiness. Were we not Sinners, were we not conceived and 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 the 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 is no other way to free ourlelves from this Death of Sin, but by pecdily applying ourselves to our heavenly Physician, abo came in iothe World to seek and to save thoje that are loft, and ready to perish ; and the very Senle of our own Unworthiness
, is of all other Arguments
, the best Qualification to recommend us to God's Favour and Mercy, since we know that he resisteth the Proud, [and 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, * through Christ, for the Forgiveress cf our Sins, and our Love and Charity for « all Mankind; "füch 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 ourfelves.” Nay, I further add, that any person thus difpofed or qualified, may come (if it should be required) at an Hour's Warning, as sately as he may come to Church and fay his Prayers, or hear a Sermon.
1 he Dueneis 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 infor, that à Multitude of Business, or a Man's being ther publicor deeply engaged in the public Affairs of this World, cannot be any junt privati berare Plea ir Preter ce for his not coming to the holy Communion; because excufed from all Busines is consistant with the Duties of Religion, provided we gofrequent Com
v.in cur Affairs by Christian Principles: For though tuch. Men have not Leisure for so inuch actual Preparation, yet thiey may have that habitual Preparation, upon which the great Stress ought to be laid in ihis Matter : Nay, evenilie conscientious Discharge of a Man's Duty in his Business, may be one of the best qualifications to recommend him to God; since every Man serves God when he fol. Jows his Calling with Diligence, and observes Justice and Honesty in all his Dealings; and consequently, the greater Danger and Tempration he is exposid to thro' the Multiplicity of Business, ihe more need hath lie of God's Grace and Allistance, which are abunddantly communicated to us in this holy Ordinance : So that Men ot-Bufiness, it they have any serious Thoughts of another World, oughit more efpecially to lay hold on fuch Opportunities which t:cure the Salvation of their Souls; for as they whu have Leisure ought to receive conftanıly, as the best Improvement of their l'ime; so they that are engaged in many Worldly Affrirs, ought to co ne the oftener to the holy Communion, and learn how to fanctify thuir Empo:mcnts. I ut to proceed :