Imatges de pàgina
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blood of their divine Lord-of all the blessings which the offering of this body and blood purchased for them. These blessings are, the pardon of sin, the grace and favour of God, and everlasting life. In the mysterious counsels of Jehovah, these blessings are purchased for sinful man by the meritorious sacrifice of Jesus Christ. According to the institution of this divine Personage, the bread is the communion of his body, and the cup the communion of his blood: the worthy participation of these holy symbols, therefore, pledges certainly to us all these blessings of his meritorious cross and passion. In partaking, then, sincerely and devoutly of this holy communion of the body and blood of our Lord, we can cherish with inexpressible joy the exalted assurance, that God is our reconciled God and Father in Jesus Christ; that he pardons all our sins, blesses us with his favour, and that, our God and our guide unto death, he will be our portion for ever and ever.

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Is it possible that these are truths-truths certain as the word of God, unfailing as the promise of him who changes not-truths in which, subject as we are to sin, to sorrow, and to death, we have the deepest interest? and yet are there are any professing Christians who act as if they were not truths, or truths in which they had no concern? Alas! there are those who are called by the name of Christ, and yet wilfully abstain from that holy table on which are set forth the memorials of the body and blood of their crucified Lord, and who refuse to receive the pledges that are offered to them of pardon and of grace-of that favour of their God which alone can render this life happy, and the ages of eternity blest.

My Christian brethren, who thus abstain from the table of your Lord, you deprive yourselves of succours, of consolations, and of hopes, that would prove to you a safeguard under temptation, a support in sorrow, and the only source of satisfying and permanent felicity. But well would it be if there were no other consequences of your separating yourselves from this holy feast. The victim symbolically set forth on the altar, is the beloved Son of the Father; and he is suffering the fearful penalty of your transgressions. It would seem that you regard not this awful display of the divine displeasure against sin, and the sufferings of him who died to purchase your redemption from it; for you refuse to participate of the holy symbols that show forth his death, that commemorate his love. Can you then have any reasonable hope of participating of the merits of that death, of the blessings of that love? And what must be the condition of those to whom the death of Christ brings not salvation, nor his love life eternal? You refuse to participate of the pledges of that salvation, of that life eternal, in the memorials of your Saviour's sufferings and death, of his infinite love for you; and what hope can you cherish of inheriting that salvation, that life eternal, which are the purchase of his death, the fruits of his infinite love? In the affecting expostulation with which the church seeks to arouse you to a sense of your duty and your eternal interest, "Consider earnestly with yourselves, how great is your ingratitude to God, and how sore punishment hangeth over your heads for the same, when ye wilfully abstain from the Lord's table, and separate from your brethren who come to feed on the banquet of that most heavenly food." If

you say you are unworthy, and therefore are afraid to come, to you will apply the expostulation of the church-" Wherefore then do ye not repent and amend?" Consider, whatever unfits you for the table of the Lord, will render you unfit for heaven.

Christians, who, in obedience to his command, meet your Lord and Master at his holy table, when you contemplate the infinite sufferings of the victim there set forth, consider the awful indignation of the Sovereign of the universe against sin, for which those sufferings were an expiation; be impressed with a deep sense of its enormity, and be excited constantly to guard against its solicitations, and to avoid even the appearance of every thing that may dishonour your holy profession and put your Saviour to an open shame.

But it is also your duty and your privilege there to contemplate that gracious God whom you have offended, as assuring to you, by the most affecting pledges, the memorials of the body and blood of his Son, that he grants you the forgiveness of your sins; that, as your reconciled God and Father, he will guide, sustain, and comfort you, under all the conflicts and sorrows of this state of your probation, until he brings you to that eternal rest where your labours shall cease and your trials terminate, and where his favour shall be your portion for ever. While you enjoy the certain pledges of blessings thus exalted, blessings that unite you to your Saviour, that console and refresh you with the pardoning mercy and protecting and sanctifying grace of God your heavenly Father-blessings that elevate your views above the brightest joys of this mortal scene, to the infinitely brighter glories

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of that heaven which is to be your everlasting home; while you enjoy the certain pledges of these blessings, what should hurt you, or make you afraid? what should restrain the full indulgence of holy joy? Are not all things yours-yours, purchased for you by the death and passion of the Son of God-yours, conveyed and pledged to you in the lively memorials which he instituted? Are not all things yours-all things working together for your good, destined and controlled for your eternal good, whether life, or death, or angels, or principalities, or powers, or things present, or things to come? But take heed lest, through the weakness of nature, your faith fail-lest, through the seductive allurements of the world, your zeal and ardour in your Christian course languish and abate; and take heed lest the holy graces and virtues of your Christian life be sullied by the unhallowed influence of worldly tempers, pleasures, and pursuits; take heed lest thus gradually sin usurp dominion over you, and you fall short of your heavenly inheritance. Yet you have the assurance that greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. Your Saviour is divine and almighty; look to him for guidance, for strength and protection; watch, and pray, and labour with all diligence in the great work of resisting and subduing the evil passions of nature, of acquiring and perfecting all the graces and virtues of your Christian calling. And that you may thus be fortified, and cheered, and advanced in your course of Christian duty, frequently approach unto God, with humility, with penitence, with faith, with charity, in that holy supper where, while he renews your title to his mercy and favour, he confers that

grace which alone can enable you to render unto him true and acceptable service. Thus approaching unto God, you shall experience the blessedness of those whom he chooses-even pardon, and peace, and holiness here-and the perfection of felicity in his heavenly kingdom.

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