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ty to the least of God's creatures, and, in general, without any trouble, or expense. It is one of the purest elements of which this material world is composed. It affords us almost the only means of cleanliness and comfort in our houses, in our persons, in our clothing, and in the preparation of our food. What emblem, therefore, could be so proper to express purity of mind in that rite by which we become members of that spiritual kingdom which Christ came to establish?
And, as water is so significant an emblem in baptism, so bread and wine, in the Lord's Supper, may indicate, with great propriety, our nourishment and growth in grace. They are also striking emblems of the efficacy of Christ's religion on our hearts. As bread is the principal support of our animal frame; so is true religion the food of the soul, and the means of spiritual life. The one supplies the body with health and strength, and the other gives new powers and additional virtues to the mind. In the
same manner, also as wine is often the means of imparting strength to the feeble, and reviving their drooping spirits; so is religion the great consolation of the human soul, and our best refuge in the season of adversity.
The scruples and objections which are most commonly felt in reference to the observance of the Lord's Supper, are founded upon some passages in the 11th chap. of St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians. These passages were written on a very uncommon occasion. The people of Corinth, it appears, both from the testirnony of sacred and profane writers, were infamous, even to a proverb, for almost every vice that degrades human nature; but more particularly for their voluptuousness, and the gross sensuality of their enjoyments. The converts to christianity, therefore, in that abandoned city, were still addicted to many profligate and licentious practices. Among other enormities, we find they were accused of shameful profanation in their manner of celebrating the Lord's Supper. They made no distinction between that and a common entertainment, and were guilty of the most scandalous indecorum and excess.
This was the shocking abuse which produced the severe remonstrance of St. Paul, and which well deserved his threatening indignation. When,' says he! ye come together into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper; for in eating, every one taketh before other his own supper; and one is hungry, and another is drunken.' • What !' continues the Apostle, ' have ye not houses to eat and drink in? Or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?' This is an allusion to their feasts of charity, from which it appears, the poor were, for the most part, excluded. When these entertainments were ended, parties went in a riotous manner to partake of the Lord's Supper ; where it was apparent that some had previously indulged to excess, while others were oppressed with hunger and thirst. The greater part, there
fore, were guilty of the most sinful profanation; particularly those who presented themselves at the table in a state of intoxication; and those, also, who went to it as to a common meal. St. Paul then recapitulates the institution of this sacred rite by our blessed Lord himself, as recorded by the evangelists; and having stated its principal use, namely, that of .shewing the Lord's death till he come,' he concludes by saying, in reference to the enormities already mentioned, 'He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body :' i. e. not making a due distinction between the consecrated elements and common food ; for the adverb unworthily,' does not refer to the previous character and general conduct, even of the Corinthian communicants, but to their behaviour at the very table of the Lord, and the shameful manner in which they presumed to celebrate this holy ordinance ; they ate and drank unworthily.
Now, careless, and imperfect as we are in our religious duties at present, there is no approach towards such an abominable profanation as this among us ; and therefore the denunciations which were pronounced against it by the apostle, cannot, with any propriety, be applied to the ordinary omissions and transgressions of human frailty.
If we love God and our neighbor, though not so fervently as we could wish ;-if we have a real desire of being better than at present we find ourselves ;-if the fruits of the Holy Spirit, though in a low degree, do appear in our life ;—if we daily pray for God's grace, that we may be what he would have us to be, and do not live in any known sin, we should by no means forbear to go to this ordinance, and may depend on the divine acceptance and blessing.