Imatges de pÓgina
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mercy and love will seal our pardon-will convey to us peace and joy-a peace which the world cannot give nor take away, and a joy which, arising from a sense of the favour and love of the greatest and best of Beings, will be perfected in his presence, with whom is the fulness of felicity, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for ever

more.

But there is another class of persons, who, though prepared, by their general disposition and habits, for partaking of the Lord's supper, have hitherto abstained from it.

Their neglect does not arise from indifference to this holy ordinance, and to the obligation of receiving it; nor from insensibility to its affecting nature, as a memorial of the love of their Saviour; nor to the important blessings which it conveys. Theirs is the neglect of timidity, not of indifference or scorn. They are deeply impressed with the sense of the importance of securing the salvation of their soul; it is their strong and earnest desire to obtain the mercy and favour of God; they feel that, as sinners, they have need of the merits and grace of a Saviour; they acknowledge the necessity of a change in their corrupt affections, and of a new and holy life, both as an evidence of love to God and of fitness for his holy presence in heaven. In a good degree they act consistently with these impressions and feelings, by studying to live righteously, soberly, and godly in the world. But they do not become guests at the table of the Lord; they separate from their brethren who come to feed on the banquet of that heavenly food. In their view, it is surrounded by a fearful and holy majesty, which intimidates them, and keeps them from VOL. II. 20

approaching it. And yet they are the very persons who should be attracted by the infinite mercy and grace which this holy memorial of their Saviour's love displays. They who, while they are studious to serve and to please God, are conscious that in many things they offend; they who, while they earnestly seek his mercy and favour, are depressed by a sense of their great unworthiness; they who, while they cherish the sentiments of love and gratitude to the Redeemer who died for them, are yet fearful that they are not worthy to celebrate his love at his holy table-are the very individuals who are prepared for making the celebration, and for receiving the means and pledges of salvation. It is to allay the fears, to quicken the graces, to fill with peace and joy the hearts of the sincere, the humble, the penitent, that this ordinance is designed. At his holy table Jesus Christ appears, not the severe master, exacting to the uttermost the service which is his due; not the rigid judge, punishing with inflexible justice every aberration from duty; but the tender and compassionate Saviour, pardoning the frailties, pitying the weaknesses, cherishing the lowly virtues of those who come to him as their refuge and salvation. Humble Christians, dismiss those fears that keep you from the table of your Lord. While you neglect what your judgment and your conscience assure you is your duty, you ought not to be at ease, for your eternal interests are not at stake. While you separate from your brethren who come to feed on the banquet of that most heavenly food, you lose the divine nourishment and consolation which it conveys. The desires of the heart your Saviour knows, and will accept. These are fixed on him. Perform

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then your vows of love and duty to him in the ordinance of his own appointment, and you will be nourished and strengthened to everlasting life.

To those who are customary attendants at the Lord's table, we address the exhortation: Take care that your attendance there be not merely the result of habit; let it be dictated by the powerful sentiments of duty, of gratitude, and of love to your God and Saviour. When you present yourselves before him, and become guests at his table, let all your Christian virtues be in lively exercise. While you examine yourselves more or less minutely as circumstances admit, and resolve to resist those temptations to which you may have in some degree yielded, those sins to which you feel you are most liable, and to cherish those Christian dispositions and duties in which you are most deficient, always bear in mind that your strength in this arduous work must be from on high, and that you must come to the Lord's table as sinners, whose trust is not in your own righteousness, but in God's manifold and great mercies and grace. Let your faith be steadily fixed on the great atonement made by the offering of the body and blood which are set forth at the holy table. When you receive the memorials of the love and mercy of him who died for his enemies, sacrifice on his altar all your wrathful passions. When you commemorate the love of him who died for you, return this love by the only tribute in your power-the oblation of yourselves to his service. And realizing the inestimable blessings of pardon, of grace, and of life, which your Saviour, by the death and passion which you commemorate, hath procured for you, gratefully and joyfully participate of the sym

bols by which these blessings are conveyed and assured.

The invitation to come to this heavenly feast, to the Lord's supper, the distinguishing mark and privilege of Christians, we address to persons of all ages.

The warm and ingenuous heart of youth, one would suppose, would be most alive to the display of love and mercy which the cross of their Saviour affords, and prompted to pour forth its grateful effusions at that altar where this love and mercy are commemorated. But, alas! some among the young are deterred by that false shame which prevents them from making that public profession of religion which is most honourable to their understandings and their hearts, and which would save them from the awful denunciation of their Saviour and Judge at the last day-"Whosoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels."*

The love of gaiety and an excessive devotion to pleasure deter others from the discharge of one of the first duties of Christians-the acknowledgment of the Saviour at his holy table; and others who are disposed to this solemn profession, think that it should not, or need not be made until more mature age. Oh! let the young be exhorted to act up to the solemn injunction of remembering their Creator in the days of their youth; and let them be distinguished here for what will lead to eternal honour and felicity hereafter-for sobriety, and

* Luke ix. 26.

cheerful devotedness to God, and not to frivolity, dissipation, and devotion to the world; and let them cherish their virtuous resolves, and fortify themselves against temptation, by participating of the pledges of mercy and grace in the supper of the Lord.

Those who have assumed the vows of their Christian profession in the ordinance of confirmation, we especially exhort to go on in the happy course on which they have entered, and to perform their vows by participating of the Lord's supper. This duty is imposed on them by one of those commandments which they solemnly assumed at their confirmation; and the assumption is registered in those books which will be opened at the last day; and which, proclaiming vows performed or vows violated, will assign to them the destiny of felicity or wo. This is the awful consideration that enforces, I may say, with the voice of eternity, the duty of making our Christian calling and election sure. For if after death is the judgment, and if death comes in an hour when we think not of it, who can be easy or unconcerned while in the habitual neglect of those commandments and ordinances in which he promised to walk, and in conformity with which will be found his present honour and peace, as well as his eternal felicity?

I beseech those then, who, from a concern for their eternal salvation, have assumed the vows of their Christian calling in confirmation, to prepare to secure that salvation, by receiving, in penitence, humility, and faith, the supper of the Lord. In the devout feelings which a sincere participation of this holy sacrament inspires, in the divine suc

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