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*had in reverence of all that are round about him." Wherein we have, 1. The object; 2. The subject; 3. The mode of divine worship.
First, The object of worship, God; God is to be feared. In all divine worship, men and angels have to do with God. "All things (faith the apostle) are open and naked to the 66 eyes of him with whom we have to do," Heb. iv. 14. With whom we have speech, or business; fo it may be understood. When we worship, we draw nigh to God; and that about the greatest concerns, and weightieft bufinefs in the world.
Secondly, The fubject, or the perfons that approach unto God in his worship; "His faints, and all that are about him.” By faints, many interpreters do (in this place) understand the angels, called faints, from the purity and holiness of their nature; and fo make the next clause exegetical of this. Those that before were called faints in refpect of their nature, are, in the next words faid to be fuch as are round about him, his fatellites, attendants, or those that stand as fervants about him, to do his pleasure; where they are defcribed by their office. Both these seem to be grounded upon the precedent verses: "Who in heaven can be compared to the Lord? Who among "the fons of the mighty," (or of God, fo the angels are called, Job i. 6.) "can be likened to the Lord ?" And though it be true, that the angels worship, and ferve the Lord with the greatest reverence and dread (for these are his nigh ones, or fuch as are round about him ;) yet there is no neceffity to limit this fcripture fo narrowly, by excluding the people of God on earth; they also are his faints, and more frequently fo ftiled, though they be faints of a lower class and order: and they alfo are round about him, as well as the angels; and when they worship him, he is in the midst of them, Matth. xviii. 20. And the place where they affemble to worship, is called the place of his feet, Ifa. lx. 13. But if we find not the faints on earth in the direct and immediate fenfe of this text, yet we muft needs meet them in the rebound and confequence. For if creatures so much above us, as the angels, do perform their fervice, and pay their homage to the highest Majefty with fo much fear and reverence; thall not inferior creatures, the poor worms of the earth, tremble at his prefence? And this brings us to the third thing; namely,
Thirdly, The mode, or manner, in which the worship of God is to be performed; viz. with great fear and reverence : G g
"God is greatly to be feared" Pifcator tranflates it, Vehe menter formidandus, to be vehemently feared; and opposes it to that formal, carelefs, trifling, vain fpirit, which too often is found in those that approach the Lord in the duties of his worship. The obfervation from hence will be this:
Obfervation. That the greatest compofedness and feriousness of Spirit is due to God, from all those that draw nigh unto him in his worship.
And this is no more than what the Lord exprefly requires at our hands; Lev. x. 3. "I will be fanctified in them that "come nigh unto me.' So Heb xii. 28, 29. "Let us have grace, whereby we may ferve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a confuming fire."
And as this difpofition and temper of fpirit is due to every act and part of God's worship; fo (to accommodate this general to our particular occafion) it is efpecially due to this great and folemn ordinance of the Lord's fupper.
It is the obfervation of the Cafuifts, that facramentum ct mortis articulus aequiparantur: The facrament of the Lord's fupper, and the very point of death, require equal seriousness a man's fpirit fhould be as deeply folemn and composed at the Lord's table, as upon a death-bed. We fhould go to that ordinance, as if we were then going into another world.
The primitive Chriftians used to fit up whole nights in meditation and prayer, before their participation of the Lord's fupper; and thefe nights were called Vigiliae, their watches. Such was the reverence the faints had for this ordinance (which they ufually called myfterium tremendum, a tremendous myftery,) that they would not give " fleep to their eyes, or flumber "to their eye-lids," when fo great and folemn a day drew near. Chryfoft. lib. 3. de facerdot,
And that all this folemn preparation is no more than needs, will convincingly appear to us, upon the following grounds and reafons.
Reafon 1. From the folemn nature and ends of this ordi For what is the express design and use of it, but a lively reprefentation of the Lord's death? 1 Cor. xi. 26. "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do fhew "the Lord's death till he come." Jefus Chrift is therein fet forth crucified before us; and not to make a bare reprefentation of it to us, as a thing wherein we have no perfonal interest or concernment, but to reprefent. his death lively, and feal our itle to it firmly: "This is my body, which is broken for you,"
Now, which of these is to be attended with a dead, careless, and flight fpirit? Is it the representation of Chrift's death? God forbid! Oh! if there be any fubject of meditation in the world, able to drink up the very spirit of a man, this is it!
The fun fainted, the heavens mourned in black, the very rocks rent in pieces, when this tragedy was acted; and fhall our hearts be more fenfeless and obdurate than they, at the reprefentation of it? But, lo! here is more than a representation? Chrift is fet forth in this ordinance, as crucified for you; as fuffering, and enduring all this, in your room and stead. Now,
Suppofe, reader, thyself to be juftly condemned to the torture of the rack, or strappado; and that thy father, brother, or dearest friend, preferring thy life to his own, would become thy ANTIPSYXos, ranfomer, by undergoing the torment for thee; and all that is left for thee to fuffer, were only by way of fympathy with him: fuppofe now thyself standing by that engine of torture, and beholding the members of thy dear. friend distorted, and all out of joint; hearing his doleful groans, extorted by the extremity of anguifh; and under all these torments, still maintaining a conftant love to thee; not once repenting his torments for thee; couldeft thou stand there with dry eyes? Could thy heart be unaffected, and stupid at fuch a fight? Write him rather a beaft, a stone, than a man,' that could do fo.
But this is not all: the believer's intereft in Chrift is fealed, as well as the sufferings of Chrift reprefented, in this ordinance.
And is a fealed intereft in Chrift fo cheap or common a thing, as that it fhould not engage, yea, fwallow up all the powers of thy foul? Oh! what is this? what is this?
The feal of God, fet to the foul of a poor Gummer, to confirm and ratify its title to the perfon of Christ, and the ine. ftimable treasures of his blood. Surely, as the fealing up of a man to damnation, is the fum of all mifery; and that poor creature that is so fealed, hath cause enough to mourn and wail to eternity; fo the fealing up of a foul to falvation, is the fum of all mercy and happiness; and the foul that is fo fealed, hath cause enough to lie at the feet of God, overwhelmed with the fenfe of fo invaluable a mercy.
Reafon 2. As the nature and ends of this ordinance call for the greatest compofedness of fpirit; fo the danger of unworthy receiving, fhould work our hearts to the most serious frame for if a man be here without his wedding-garment, if the eat and drink unworthily, it is at the greatest peril of hi
foul that he doth fo; 1 Cor. xi. 27. "Wherefore, whofoever "fhall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, fhall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” To profane and undervalue that body and blood of the Lord, is a fin above measure finful; and the punishments of fuch fins, will be the most dreadful: for ftill the more excellent the bleffings are that come by any ordinance, the more dreadful the curfes are, that avenge the abuse of such mercies. How foon may a man draw fearful guilt upon his foul, and dreadful judgments upon his body, by an heedless management of fuch facred myfteries? "For this caufe many are weak and "fickly among you, and many fleep;" verfe 30.
It is a moft weighty note, that a worthy pen fets upon this fcripture: They difcerned not the body of his Son Jesus Chrift, in his ordinances; but instead of that holy, reverend and deep-dyed behaviour, which was due to it, both from their inner and outward man, as being a creature of the highest and deepest fanctification, that ever God fanctified ; • fanctified not only to a more excellent and glorious conditi
on; but also to many ends and purposes, of far higher and • dearer concernment, both for the glory of God, and benefit ' of men themselves, than all other creatures whatsoever, whe⚫ther in heaven or earth: They handled, and dealt by it in both kinds, as if it had been a common unfanctified thing: Thus they discerned not the Lord's body.'
And as they difcerned not his body, fo neither did God (in fome fenfe) discern theirs; but in those fore strokes and heavy judgments which he inflicted on them, had them in no other regard or confideration, than as if they had been the bodies of his enemies, the bodies of wicked and finful men; thus drawing the model and platform of their punishment (as ufually he doth) from the structure and proportion of their fin.
Thus the juft and righteous God builds up the breaches that we make upon the honour belonging to the body of his Son, with the ruins of that honour which he had given unto ours, in health, ftrength, life, and many other outward comforts and supports.
O then what need is there of a moft awful and compofed fpirit, when we approach the Lord in this ordinance?
Reafon 3. As the danger of unworthy receiving should compofe us to the greatest seriousness, fo the remembrance of that frame and temper Chrift's Spirit was in, when he actually fuf
Mr. Tho. Goodwin's epiftle to Mr. Fenner's fermons.
fered those things for us, fhould compose our spirits, into a frame more fuitable and agreeable to his. When we fee his death, as it were acted over again before our eyes: Was his heart roving and wandering in that day? Did he not regard and mind the work he was going about? Was his heart, like thine, ftupid, and unaffected with these things? Look but upon that text, Luke xxii. 44. and you fhall fee whether it were fo, or not. It is said (when this tragedy drew nigh, and his enemies were ready to seize him in thegarden) That being "in "an agony, he prayed more earneftly; and his fweat was, "as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground." And Matth. xxvi. 38. he faith, "My foul is exceeding forrowful, even unto death." His foul was full of forrow: And is thine full of stupidity? God forbid !
If thy heart be cold, Chrift's was hot: If thou canst not fhed a tear, he poured out clods of blood from every part. O, how unfuitable is a dry eye, and hard heart, to such an ordinance as this!
Reason 4. As the frame Chrift's Spirit was in at his death, fhould command the moft folemn frame upon our spirits, at the recognizing of it; fo the things here reprefented, require, and call for the highest exercise of every grace of the Spirit in our fouls: For we come not thither as idle fpectators, but as active inftruments, to glorify God, by exercifing every grace upon Chrift, as crucified for us. Behold here are, among the reft, First, The proper object of faith.
Secondly, The flowing fpring of repentance.
First, The proper object of faith is here. This ordinance, as a glafs, reprefents to thine eye that glorious Perfon, of whom the Father faid, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I
am well pleased," Matth. xvii. 5. Of whom he said, "I "have laid help upon one that is mighty." This was he that "was made fin for us, who had no fin, that we might be "made the righteoufnefs of God in him," 2 Cor. v. 21. Who trode the wine-prefs alone, and is here to be seen in his red garments. Every drop of his precious blood hath a tongue, calling for faith to behold it, poured forth as a facrifice to God for fin. "This (faith he) is the cup of the New Teftament " in my blood, which was fhed for many, for the remiffior "of fins."
And what footing could thy faith find for pardon and falvation any where else? It is Chrift crucified that faith clafps, as the laft and only hope and refuge of a poor finner: Here all