Imatges de pÓgina
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To this end He has ordained, that as all Christians, high and low, rich and poor, shall make up one body, of which He is the Head; and one family, of which He is the Master: so they should all eat at one Table of one Bread, as a sign of that love, and peace, and friendship, and readiness to help one another, as occasion shall require, and as members of the same body will naturally do.

And, indeed, your acceptance with God will very much depend upon your hearty good-will for every Christian, and for all mankind.

Therefore you must take especial care, lest there be any person with whom you are not at peace; whom you cannot forgive, and pray for, and do him all the good that can in reason be expected from you that you be disposed to make satisfaction to any person that has been injured by you, or who may have taken just

offence at your words or actions, this being a duty which Jesus Christ Himself has commanded.1 And that you be ready to forgive every person who may have injured you, as you expect forgiveness of God, remembering the dreadful sentence mentioned in Matt. xviii. : "Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all thy debt: shouldest not thou have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors."

And lastly, you are to take care that you love, not in word only, but in deed, and in truth; that is, that you do good, as well as give good words, and relieve Jesus Christ in His poor members.

And believe it for a certain truth, that a charitable and forgiving temperis not near so beneficial to anybody as to him that hath it, it being more blessed to give than to receive,

1 Matt. v. 23.

and to forgive than to insist upon satisfaction for injuries and wrongs done to us.2

This being so necessary a grace, you will not fail to beg of God most earnestly to vouchsafe it to you.

The Prayer.

This is My commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you. Hear, O my soul, what thy Saviour has commanded thee; He who loved us, and gave Himself an Offering and a Sacrifice to God for us.

May this Thy love, O Jesus, be the motive and pattern of my love and charity for all mankind! Where this hath not been my practice, I implore

2 Acts xx. 35.

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Thy gracious pardon; and beseech Thee to fortify my soul against all suggestions of Satan, or my corrupt nature and blind passions; that I may always be prepared to go to Thine altar, with the same charitable dispositions with which I desire and hope to die.

Thou, O Jesus, madest Thine enemies Thy friends, by laying down Thy life for them. Be Thou my Advocate with God for grace to follow Thy heavenly charity and example, that I may overcome evil with good; that I, and all the members of Thy family, may love as brethren; that we may always meet at Thy Table as sincere friends, and part with true love and affection, as becomes Thy disciples. Amen.

SECTION IX

General observations pertinent to the subject of the foregoing sections

see On the other hand, if

By this time you this you turn your back upon

institution; the necessity, as well as the invaluable blessing, of observing it religiously; and the manner of preparing yourself for it, as often as you have an opportunity.

And remember, that the oftener you look into the state of your soul, in order to go to this ordinance, the less trouble you will have to make your peace with God, when you come to die ; and the less danger you will be in of falling into a state of sin and security, which has been the ruin of an infinite number of souls.

Besides this, you will have the greatest comfort in life when you perceive that you are still growing in grace, and tending to that perfection which must fit you for heaven.

this Ordinance, it must be because you will not be at the pains to understand your duty, your interest, and your danger.

You have not considered that there is no pardon, no grace, no salvation to be hoped for, but by pleading with God what His Son hath done, and suffered, and merited for us, and in the manner He has ordained.

And if you will consult your own conscience, it will tell you, that some of these following are the true though most wretched causes of your contempt of this command of your Saviour.

Either you live in some known sin, or ungodly way of life, which you cannot resolve to forsake-or, you are not

willing to renew your vows made in baptism :-or, which is generally the case, you have no real concern for your soul; only you delude yourself with some faint purposes and hopes, that some time or other you will become

a new man.

In the meantime you are guilty of a sin too like the denying the Lord that bought you: you bring an evil report upon an Ordinance of Christ, as if it were not worth observing; you harden wicked people in their infidelity, and neglect of their salvation, by calling yourself a Christian, and living like an heathen, in the contempt of one of the greatest means of salvation. You live in a state in which all your prayers, whether public or private, whether for yourself or for others, will be rejected.

In short, you provoke God every day more and more to withdraw His grace, to leave you to your own corrupt way of living, till you have filled up the

measure of your sins, and prepared for yourself a sentence not to be heard without trembling, I tell you that none of these men that were bidden shall taste of My supper-the marriage supper of the Lamb in Heaven.

How great, then, must the sin of those be, who neglect to administer, and of those who turn their backs upon this ordinance, upon which our salvation depends! It being the blood of Christ which must cleanse us from all sin.1

Observations on receiving the Holy Sacrament worthily or unworthily.

After all, this is not to encourage any person to go to the Lord's Supper without a wedding garment,without a due regard to the duty. For a man may go so unworthily, as to receive judgment instead of a blessing.

For example, such as live in any known sin un1 1 John i. 7.

repented of; such as are | judgments that can befal them.

not sincerely resolved to live and be governed by the known laws of the Gospel; such as live at variance with their neighbours, without being willing to be reconciled; such as have done wrong, and will not make satisfaction, as they are able; lastly, such as go out of mere custom, without considering the end or benefit of the ordinance, and return to their usual sinful liberties as soon as the service is over.

All such ought to know, that they went unworthily; and if they have any true concern for their souls, they will consider better, and lay themselves under stricter obligations, before they go again to the Lord's Supper.

But, then, let them not, at the peril of their souls, deal deceitfully, and make this a pretence of neglecting to go to this Ordinance for the future, lest they provoke God to leave them to themselves, which is one of the greatest

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On the other hand, let not any well-meaning Christians be discouraged with fears of having gone unworthily to the Lord's Supper; and so forbear, because they do not find all the benefit and change wrought in them which they hoped for; but let them consider that a state of holiness and perfection is not to be expected at once, but by degrees, and as we make good use of the graces which the Holy Spirit from time to time vouchsafes to us.

A good Christian not being one who has no inclination to sin, but one who, through the grace of God, immediately checks and suffers not such inclination to grow into evil habits.

God, who knows our infirmities, will accept our sincere endeavours, though attended with imperfections and backslidings, provided we condemn ourselves for them and strive to amend.

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