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strangers to the heavenly feast? Another invitation is given. It may be the last.
Sincere Christians, in whatever circumstances you are placed, it is your bounden duty, as it is your inestimable privilege, to participate of the symbols of the body and blood of your Saviour, and over these sacred memorials to thank and praise him who hath prepared for you, in his heavenly kingdom to which he hath ascended, a felicity unspeakable in degree, and endless in duration, If you are surrounded by worldly comforts and blessings, let the holy table be the altar on which you offer the grateful tribute of your hearts to your heavenly Benefactor and Friend. If you are oppressed by sorrow and calamity, at the altar, the mercy-seat of your God, pour forth your griefs, and invoke the consolation and succour of him who,
though in faithfulness he afflicts you, hath promised never to leave you nor forsake you; and who hath prepared for you that inheritance of glory and of bliss never to be sullied, never to be alloyed by sin or sorrow. At the altar let your affections be raised to that place to which your Saviour has ascended; that where he is, you may thither also ascend, and reign with him in glory. In the hour of sickness and of death, the hour that must come to all, take the symbols of the body and blood of your Saviour, and in the fulness of faith call on him; and in this hour of death, in the day of judgment, he will save and deliver you.
FOR THE HOLY COMMUNION.
PSALM LXV. 4.
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee.
EVERY act of devotion, every approach unto God in the ordinances of religion, is calculated to ennoble, and purify, and exalt the powers of the soul. By the law of our nature, we are assimilated to that moral excellence which we frequently and ardently contemplate; and it is the natural tendency of goodness to raise pleasurable sensations in the mind that beholds it. When, then, we supplicate and praise that Being who is infinitely holy, we are powerfully excited to love and to imitate that holiness which we thus fervently adore; and when, in the exercises of faith and devotion, we approach unto that Being who is transcendently good and lovely, we experience those pleasures which the contemplation of excellence and goodness is always calculated to inspire. The living God, the exhaustless fountain of felicity, dispenses blessedness to the soul that humbly and devoutly approaches unto him. "Blessed is the man whom he chooses, and causes to approach unto him."
But of all the acts of religious homage, that in which the Christian approaches unto God in the sacrament of the supper, is the most ennobling in
its tendency, and produces the purest and most elevated joys; for this sacred ordinance exhibits God to our contemplation in his most exalted characters, and it dispenses the mean and pledge, to the humble and penitent believer, of every spiritual blessing.
Let me then, at the present time, when you are called to approach unto God at his holy table, invite your attention to
1. The characters in which he there displays himself and to the blessings which he there dispenses.
In the sacrament of the supper, God is displayed as a holy and just Sovereign punishing transgression; and also as our merciful Father in Christ Jesus, providing an expiation for sin, and extending pardon to the penitent.
On that holy table a victim is set forth under the most expressive symbols. The bread is broken, the wine is poured out, to denote that this victim is bruised for our iniquities, is wounded for our sins: the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all. The victim, whose death, as the penalty of transgressions not his own, is thus set forth, is the Son of the Father in the person of man. Incomprehensible truth, but certain as the voice of inspiration. What an awful exhibition, then, in the symbols of the holy table, of the infinite sacrifice which sin required, and of the tremendous punishment which sin received! What an awful monition comes from that altar!-If the Lord thus smites the man that is his fellow, when constituted the representative of our guilt-if the eternal Sovereign of the universe thus spared not his own Son,
will he spare the transgressor whom this tremendous exhibition of divine justice does not move to repentance?
But not only as a holy and just Sovereign are we called to contemplate the Lord God in the. sacrament of the supper-he excites our grateful faith and love, as that merciful and gracious God who has provided an atonement for transgression, and who extends pardon to the penitent.
The death of the almighty Victim shown forth on the altar, is not merely the punishment which God, holy and just, exacts as a necessary reparation to his violated laws, and in fearful display of his rigorous holiness and his inflexible justice: for as his authority is sustained, and his holiness and justice are asserted, by the death of an all-perfect victim, this death becomes a full expiation for sin, and the holy and just Sovereign of the universe can consistently exercise the attribute of mercy in dispensing pardon to the transgressor.
It is on the holy table that this great sacrifice, this full, and free, and perfect oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, is most expressively set forth. There is represented and commemorated, under the bread broken and the wine poured forth, Jesus Christ, the very Paschal Lamb which was offered for us, and hath taken away the sin of the world. What a tremendous display, indeed, of the holy indignation of the eternal Jehovah against sin, which demanded a victim of this infinite dignity and merit! The infinite dignity and worth of the victim prove also the fulness and sufficiency of the expiation; and we can now approach unto God as that merciful Father who is in his Son Jesus Christ reconciling
us unto himself. We commemorate at the holy table, the sacrifice of that Lamb of God whose blood cleanseth from all sin. Participating with true penitence and faith of the bread and wine of the altar, we partake spiritually of the blessings which that offering of his body and blood procured for us; and one of the principal blessings purchased for us by the offering of this body and blood, is pardon, full and free pardon, of all the sins which we have confessed and renounced.
Oh! then, let us approach unto the holy table, as unto that mercy-seat where God hath promised to meet us, to dispense pardon to every penitent offender. Surely we cannot be insensible of our need of forgiveness; surely we cannot think that we have not so sinned as to have rendered ourselves obnoxious to the displeasure of the righteous Sovereign of the universe-not so sinned as to need, in humility and penitence, to supplicate forgiveness from our offended Maker. Let our hearts and our lives, my brethren, answer. Have we sincerely and supremely revered, loved, and served him, who is the all-glorious and perfect Author of our being, the gracious Preserver and Benefactor of our lives, the merciful Redeemer of our soulswho is supremely worthy of our reverence, love, and service? Have we always faithfully fulfilled the laws of justice, of benevolence, and of mercy? Have we never transgressed the rules of temperance, of purity, of meekness, of humility, of forbearance, of forgiveness?
Who among us, brethren, will say that he is from the stains of sin? Who among us will avow that he can stand, were God to sit in judgment upon him? And if we have transgressed, we surely