Imatges de pàgina
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pate of the holy communion, and thus evince to the world that we are real and consistent believers in the Gospel of Christ, and letting our light shine; and thus shall we avoid the tremendous guilt of contributing, by our evil example, to the perdition of others.

"Do this in remembrance of me."

What pleas can we offer for the neglect of a duty to which we are urged by so many powerful considerations?

Do we plead the danger of receiving unworthily? Reflect, my brethren, on the inconsistency of this plea. We are afraid of receiving the Lord's supper unworthily, but we think lightly of the guilt which we incur, and of the punishment to which we expose ourselves, by our neglect of an institution enforced by a divine command. These apprehensions of unworthy receiving are sometimes founded on a misinterpretation of the text of the apostle, when he declares, that "he who eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself." The word translated damnation, does not mean eternal perdition, but temporal judgments; and these were inflicted upon the Corinthians for a sin, of which no Christian in the present day, it is to be supposed, will be guilty-the not distinguishing between the elements of the Lord's supper and their common food-the not "discerning the Lord's body," and feasting at this holy rite in a riotous and tumultuous manner. "For this cause," says the apostle, in his remonstrance with them, " many are sick among you, and many

faint."

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But this plea of unworthiness, if well founded, which separates us from the Lord's supper, will also

separate us from the favour of God and from the hopes of heaven. The qualifications for this holy ordinance are the indispensable qualifications for future blessedness. This holy ordinance is indeed designed to excite and cherish in our souls those virtues and graces which will qualify us for eternal joys. If, then, my brethren, we are not fit to come to the Lord's table, are we fit for heaven? And if we are not fit for heaven, where will be our eternal abode? Alas! shut out from the heavenly feast, our portion must be in outer darkness, where there is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. In preparing then for the Lord's supper, we prepare for heaven. If we are unworthy to join with our brethren in the banquet of that most heavenly food in the church on earth, can we be fit to join with them in celebrating the everlasting festival of love? 86 Repent ye truly for your past sins; have a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ; amend your lives, and be in charity with all men: so shall ye be meet partakers of these holy mysteries." And then alone can you enjoy, what it should be the business of your whole life to secure, a title to the everlasting favour of your God.

Do we plead, in extenuation of our neglect of the Lord's supper, that the business, the cares, and the pleasures of the world now engross us?

But, shall the business, the cares, and the pleasures of the world prevent us from attending to the care of our souls, from advancing the present and everlasting perfection of our natures? Shall worldly pursuits prevent us from obeying an injunction enforced by divine authority, by the highest claims of gratitude and interest, by every consideration that can affect our present or our immortal

character and destiny? Brethren, this excuse will not bear the test of sober reflection; it will not bear the test of our own conscience; it will not bear the test of that tribunal at which we shall receive our final doom. "What will it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

Do we plead, in justification of present neglect, our intention to perform, at some future period, an indispensable duty?

But is it wise to postpone an indispensable duty, when delay increases the guilt of disobedience and the difficulty of the performance, as well as our indisposition to it, and our indifference in the neglect of it! Ah! this plea may continue to delude us, until we are summoned to the bar of God.

Brethren, let us dismiss every vain and criminal excuse, and prepare for obeying, with true penitence, faith, and devotion, the affectionate injunction of our Lord and Master-" Do'this in remembrance of me."

You who, in the ordinance of confirmation, renewed your vows of obedience to your Maker and your Benefactor, to him who bought you with his blood, let me impress upon you, that, laudable as has been this display of pious zeal, it will be ineffectual, unless you go on unto perfection. You must perform the full measure of Christian submission. You must obey the injunction of your Lord, by participating of the memorials of his body and blood. This devout participation alone will preserve in your hearts the sentiments of piety; and this alone will secure to you that heavenly guidance and grace which are necessary to lead you through the temptations of the world. Oh,

then, disappoint not the hopes of your friends, of your parents, who cherish the pious wish of beholding in you a seed to serve their God, when their heads are laid in the dust. Disappoint not the hopes of your ministers, who, looking forward to the day when they must render an account of their stewardship, desire earnestly to present you before their Lord and Master, and say, 'Behold us, and the children whom thou hast given us.' Disappoint not the hopes of the church, who longs to behold in you those who shall for ever tread her sacred courts in her triumphant state in heaven, and join in the jubilee of adoration and praise. Forsake not the service of him whose service is perfect freedom; forsake not those ways of religion where are pleasantness and peace. Remember the doom of apostate Christians; it were better for them never to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them; there remaineth for them only a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation.

Ye, then, whose youthful or whose mature years are passing in neglect of the fundamental duty of your Christian profession, reflect on the guilt and danger of contemning that ordinance which is the memorial of the love and the pledge of the mercy of the Author and Finisher of your redemption. Resolve to discharge, without delay, a duty to which every consideration urges that can affect you as rational and immortal beings. Be persuaded no longer to live in disobedience to the injunction of your Lord, and in indifference to the concerns of your salvation; return to your God, and resolve, through his grace, to devote

yourselves to his service. In the holy supper commemorate the love of him through whose intercession alone you can be saved-who alone can conduct you through the changes of this mortal state, and lead you in peace and safety through the valley of death to the mansions of eternal rest.

Christians, disciples of a crucified Redeemer, show forth the loving-kindness of the Lord who bought you; humble, penitent, and grateful, celebrate the praises of him who loved you even unto death; and on that holy festival when you commemorate his rising again for your justification, receive by faith the memorials of his mercy, and your souls and bodies shall be nourished and strengthened unto everlasting life.

Many persons, and particularly the young, regard the supper of the Lord with so much awe, that they are fearful of approaching it. But whatever solemnity there may be in the ordinances of religion, this solemnity was designed to repress a rash, not to discourage a sincere reception of them. There is no act of religion which is not solemn and awful. It is an awful and solemn act to come into the presence of a holy and just God, who fills heaven with his glory, and to worship before him. It is an awful and solemn act to take upon us, in the presence of this holy and just Being, our vows of devotion to him. It is an awful and solemn act to come to the Lord's table and spiritually to participate of the body and blood of our divine Lord. But the solemnity of these acts cannot lessen their obligation, and ought not therefore to discourage the performance of them. Does the solemnity of public worship deter you from the courts of God's house? Did the awful solemnity of the public consecration

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