Imatges de pàgina
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Let me then earnestly impress on those who have hitherto failed to comply with this injunction, the considerations that should urge them to the performance of it.

1. To the participation of the holy sacrament of the Lord's supper we are urged by the authority of a divine command.

As our Creator, Sovereign, Benefactor, Redeemer, and Judge, almighty, just, holy, and good, God possesses every possible claim to our obedience; it is our duty to receive and to revere every institution which has the sanction of his authority. Shall we reply against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou prescribed this? Is it not presumption even to doubt the propriety or utility of those institutions which are enforced by the authority of that Being whose will is the law and the perfection of the moral universe? The holy sacrament of the supper claims our reception, by the sanction of a divine command. It was instituted by him who is the brightness of the Father's glory, the King of kings and Lord of lords: it is prescribed by him to whom all power is given in heaven and in earth; who will reign until he hath put all things under his feet; and who will finally come with the host of heaven, and with the power and majesty of the Eternal, to take vengeance on his adversaries. It cannot be a light thing to neglect an institution enforced by his command-to contemn an ordinance enjoined by the authority of the Son of the Highest.

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It is an error to regard the sacrament of the Lord's supper merely as a rite instituted by the church to instruct and edify her members. It claims

a higher origin, and is enforced by more powerful sanctions. It is enjoined, in the most explicit and urgent manner, by him who once came to visit us in great humility; but at whose tribunal, in his glorious character as the Judge of the world, we must finally appear to answer for our conduct, and to receive our eternal doom. Our reception of it cannot, then, be a matter of indifference. We are solemnly called to participate of it by the command of our Maker, our Redeemer, our Benefactor, our Sovereign, and our Judge.

2. To the participation of the Lord's supper we are also urged by the claims of gratitude.

He, in remembrance of whom this rite is to be celebrated, is the Son of God, who, enjoying the unspeakable glory of the Godhead, descended to this world of error, of sin, and of sorrow, to enlighten and console us in our passage to that heavenly kingdom which he hath opened to us. The holy communion is to be received in remembrance of him who hath unfolded to us the perfections of God the Father; who hath delineated those graces and virtues that prepare us for the happiness of heaven; who hath opened to us a way of access to the throne of our offended Judge; who, by his obedience, by his sufferings, by his precious blood shed upon the cross, and by his rising again, hath accomplished our redemption from the bondage of sin and death, and made us heirs of immortality. In this ordinance we are called to commemorate him who is our Instructor in truth and virtue, our Saviour from everlasting wo, and our Guide through the doubts and sorrows of life to eternal blessedness and glory. More endearing relations cannot

claim our gratitude; more exalted blessings we cannot commemorate.

3. A regard to our spiritual welfare and happiness urges what the authority of a divine command and the claims of gratitude enforce.

This rite, instituted by our Lord, as an affecting memorial of his sufferings and death for our redemption, is the mean and pledge to those who worthily receive it, of the mercy, the grace, and the favour of their Redeemer and God. When they partake, in repentance and faith, of the symbols of his body and blood, they partake of all those spiritual blessings which, by the offering of his body and blood, he purchased for them. The holy rite in which this body and blood is spiritually received, conveys to the humble and contrite the pardon of their sins; it is the mean by which, when assailed by the enemies of our salvation-the lusts of the flesh, the temptations of the world, and the wiles of the great adversary-we obtain strength to resist and to overcome them. In this pledge of the favour and compassion of our God, when oppressed by the sorrows of the world, we receive those consolations which the world cannot give nor take away; and in this pledge of life eternal we obtain strength to combat our last enemy to despoil death of his sting, and the grave of his victoryand, through the darkness of the tomb, to pass to the inheritance of glory.

These are the blessings of which this sacrament is the mean and pledge to those who in true penitence and faith receive it. Christians, a regard, then, to your spiritual and immortal welfare unites with the authority of a divine command, and with

the claims of gratitude, to urge your participation of the supper of your Lord.

Have we no sins which need forgiveness? In the midst of the difficulties and temptations of the world, shall we reject the guidance and assistance of our heavenly Father, and refuse those consolations which, in the night of adversity and in the hour of death, can be our only refuge? Shall we reject the aid of that great Captain of our salvavation who hath vanquished death and hell, and, destitute of all support, enter on the dark valley of death? Shall we contemn those infinite merits of our Saviour, which, in the day of judgment, will be our only shield from the terrors of divine justice? Surely, brethren, we are not prepared for all this. Let us then come to the supper of our Lord, lest all this guilt be incurred by us, when the authority of a divine command, the claims of gratitude, and a regard to our spiritual and immortal interests, urge us to the devout reception of the holy communion of the body and blood of our Saviour.

There are other considerations, however, connected with our personal character and example, of no small importance.

4. To the duty of receiving the holy communion we are urged by a regard to consistency of conduct, as professing Christians.

We profess to believe in the divinity of the mission of the gracious Author of our religion, and to receive him as a Teacher sent from God-we profess to acknowledge him as the way, the truth, and the life, and to derive from the instructions of his Gospel the knowledge which we possess of our

spiritual character, of the perfections of God, of the rules, the aids, and the rewards of piety and virtue-we profess to rest on the merits of his sufferings and death, and on the efficacy of his intercession, all our hopes for time and for eternity -and yet we neglect the distinguishing rite of his holy religion—a rite enjoined by him, as the memorial of his inconceivable sufferings for us, and as the mean and pledge of the exalted blessings which, he bestows. How can we answer to the worldit is a more important inquiry, how can we answer to our consciences and to God for this inconsistency of conduct?

5. The obligation to support religion by our example, also enforces the duty of coming to the Lord's table.

It is religion alone which can impose effectual restraints upon the passions of men, and exert a purifying influence on their morals. How important then is the duty, merely from our character as good members of society, to give to religion, at all times, the support of our example! But we withhold this support, when we neglect its most important and distinguishing institution-an institution, the devout reception of which alone can entitle us to the privileges of a Christian. If, then, we wish to give to that religion which is the only basis of the present and future welfare of man, the support of our example; if we wish to avert the reproaches of our Lord himself, that by our neglect of his holy institution we have not only destroyed our own souls, but, thus sanctioning, by our example, the neglect of others, contributed to their destruction-we shall not fail devoutly to particiVOL. II.

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