Imatges de pÓgina

cies in displeasure. In that holy supper which proclaims his infinite love, in the exhibition of the sufferings and death of his only-begotten Son whom he gave for you, he addresses to you, not the stern denunciations of justice, but the persuasive expostulation of mercy-" Why will ye die?" why will ye die, when here, at this altar of salvation, you may enjoy the pledges of eternal life! From that altar issues the voice of infinite love and compassion"Look unto me and be saved." It is the voice of him who was once crucified for us, and whose death and passion the service of the altar symbolically renews. Yes, sinners, the compassionate Saviour of the world is interceding for you, while you are neglecting and contemning him. He presses on your acceptance the mercy which you reject. He offers you, in the symbols of his body and his blood, pardon for the sins that deserve eternal wrath, and grace to sanctify that corrupt nature which fits you only for the place of wo. Look then unto him in penitence, in faith, in holy resolutions to serve him, and be saved. The remembrance of your sins should be indeed grievous unto you, the burden of them intolerable: but hear the voice that issues from the altar-" Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." To that altar then go, beseeching the Lamb of God to wash away your sins in his most precious blood, and imploring the Spirit of grace to renew and change your souls, and there perform those vows of love and of duty which you owe to your compassionate and forbearing Saviour and God.

The same course we would earnestly press on those who, though they profess the Christian name, and have assumed the Christian obligations, yet

most inconsistently are indifferent to the spirit and duties of their Christian calling, and unconcerned with respect to those interests that should supremely engage them-their immortal interests and hopes. Distinguished, by the regularity of their deportment, from profligate sinners, they display many virtues: justice characterizes their dealings, tenderness and fidelity mark the various relations of life, and sobriety and purity guard them from corrupt indulgences. But these virtues are dictated only, or principally, by natural impulses, or by considerations of personal or social expediency: the vital principles which are to animate these virtues, in order to render them acceptable to God, are wanting. A supreme regard to the authority of him, their Almighty Lawgiver, and a lively faith in his Son Jesus Christ, as the only Saviour, are the principles which must control and sanctify every moral virtue; or, so far from being pleasing to God, it has, in reference to this its deficiency, however, in the abstract, it is right and excellent, the nature of sin. These superficial and nominal Christians are defective in a lively view and practical experience of the nature and efficacy of the distinguishing and fundamental truths of the Gospel. Deluded by the idea that mere moral decency and correctness of deportment will satisfy the demands of their merciful Judge, they have never been led to consider the odious nature of sin, nor their unhappy subjection to it; nor, of course, to feel the necessity of that renewing of the mind, that change of heart, that sanctification of the soul, by which the affections are turned from the service of the world to the obedience of God, and every thought and desire is regulated by a

regard to his authority and his laws. Unaffected by the infinite love of God displayed in the redemption, and insensible of their need of their Saviour's merits for their pardon, and of his holy and allpowerful grace for their guidance and sanctification, and unmindful of the supreme obedience which they owe to their Almighty Sovereign, they regard with indifference the Lord's supper enjoined by divine authority, in which this love is commemorated, and those merits and this grace applied and conveyed. But ought persons who are thus unmindful of their Christian obligations, and insensible to the holy claims of their Christian calling, to remain easy and indifferent, and to feel themselves sécure as to their eternal interests? God, their Creator, Preserver, Benefactor, Sovereign, and Judge, to whom they are bound by the most varied and the strongest obligations, and who, in the infinite perfections of his character, presents the most powerful claims to their homage and obedience, has commanded them to give him their heart; and will he permit that heart to be principally devoted to the world? He has required them to love him supremely; can they neglect the command without guilt and without punishment? He who seeth the heart, and who judges there the motives and the real characters of men, has enjoined the purification of its corrupt affections, and its subjection to his laws; and will he who cannot be deceived, and who will not be mocked, be satisfied with mere decency of deportment, with honestness and sobriety of life, while the affections are still fixed on the world, and the heart is a stranger to the purifying efficacy of divine grace? He has made the primary condition of salvation, faith in

his Son Jesus Christ, whom he hath set forth as the Saviour of the world; and can it be supposed that he will view without displeasure those who, unaffected by this stupendous display of infinite love, disregard this Saviour, and neglect his infinite merits, his divine grace? This Redeemer, who hath suffered and achieved so much for us, hath enjoined, as the commemoration of his love and the pledge of an interest in his merits, the participation of that holy supper, in which, under simple but appropriate symbols, his sufferings and death are set forth; and can it be supposed that those who profess his name, may with impunity neglect this sacred institution, and violate the earnest and tender injunction of their dying Lord and Master? This Saviour, whose sufferings for us, and whose merits and grace we disregard in the ordinance in which, by affecting symbols, they are displayed, is now our Ruler, and will finally be our Judge. Oh! on that great day when he sits in judgment on the assembled nations, let not the tremendous charge be brought against any of us, that we viewed with indifference those sufferings which made him in an agony sweat drops of blood, and in death cry out as one forsaken by his God; that we have neglected those symbols of his body and blood which, exhibited on the altar, renewed the scene of his labours, of his sorrows, of his love for us, even unto death, and were the pledges of those infinite blessings which his love for us purchased. Yes, the redemption set forth in the symbols of the altar, exhibits truths and blessings calculated in the highest degree to interest our understandings, to warm our affections, and to call forth our most vigorous obedience. God the Father is ex

hibited as so loving us, miserable sinners, as to give his Son for us; the Son of God is set forth crucified for us; the holy elements, memorials of his love, and symbols of his body and blood, convey to the penitent soul the blessings of pardon, of holiness, of eternal life. In the devout reception of these symbols we shall be certified of the favour and goodness of God, and that we are heirs, through hope, of his everlasting kingdom. Let not transitory and imperfect pleasures engross us, when these exalted and eternal blessings are proffered to us; let us no longer act inconsistently with our profession, unmindful of its holy injunctions, insensible to its affecting claims. In this state of indifference and neglect of our God and Saviour, we have cause for gratitude that he has not summoned us to that dread account for which we are thus unprepared, and which would terminate in our condemnation for ever. The symbols, and pledges, and means of salvation, in the elements of that holy supper which we have hitherto treated with indifference and neglect, are still offered to us; and the Saviour whose infinite love we have disregarded, still beseeches us, through the merits of his blood, to be reconciled unto God. In the lively emotions of penitence, in a deep sense of our need of his merits for the pardon of our transgressions, and of his grace for the purification of our souls, let us resolve to go to the altar, and pouring forth our thanks for that mercy which hath spared us, notwithstanding our insensibility and ingratitude, that infinite love which still extends to us the blessings of pardon and of life, surrender ourselves, our souls and bodies, a living sacrifice to our God. These precious symbols of divine

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